Christmas Day Two Hundred Fifty and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I am thinking today that I want all my family in Christ, my birth family, my children; all who are in Christ Jesus, including myself; to be financially free – I do not mean “Rich” in this world’s goods; or Wealthy with money, but indebted to no human being, financial institution; except to love one another.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (KJV)

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:45-49

Day Two Hundred Sixty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

With the onset of cell phones, texting, and such I want all of us to be more aware of the distraction, while driving an automobile that these devices cause; and make a personal change in behavior, and use of them while driving.

Last afternoon on the way home I encountered an individual, driving the opposite direction, coming across into my lane, headed for me, and it was while he was talking on his phone. He did manage to get it back in the right lane, before…

Realize that you are not attached to that phone. You have control of it; not it control of you. Remember, also, that you do not have to answer every text or call immediately.  Right?  Right.  Your life does not exist in your phone.

And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV)

That includes cell phones, Ipads, Iphones, notebooks, etc.

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the people, the families of victims in the bombing in Brussels, Belgium to be comforted, strengthened, and to be drawn near to the Lord Jesus Christ through these horrible events.

Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3-5 (KJV)

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28

Day Three Hundred

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the Presidential candidates to behave like grown men (since there are no longer any ladies in the GOP), and quit behaving like school yard children; just a plug for a couple of candidates Dr. Ben Carson and John Kasich  have behaved like gentlemen, grown men; the other three are despicable.  May God have mercy on us.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” [Jesus] Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the poor, the orphan, the elderly, the sick, and all people to be treated justly, and fairly by all who name the name of Christ and by all who are in positions of authority in government.

He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.” Proverbs 14:31 (NKJV)

“The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Luke 4:18-19

Day Three Hundred and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want everyone to know that Jesus must be coming really soon, because I am getting very uncomfortable, every passing day, with this world, and all that is going on in it; and I know other true followers of Jesus are growing more uncomfortable with it too.

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

On this LORD’S Day I want the presence of the Lord Jesus to be evident in our Church at Shiloah Baptist Church of Jenkins, Missouri; and for the Holy Spirit to move in conviction where it is needed, comfort in the hearts which need comfort, encouragement, and give all boldness and courage to be the witnesses for Him that we ought to be.

Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” Acts 9:31 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred and Twenty

What do I want for Christmas?

I want people of Jenkins, Missouri; the State of Missouri; the United States of America; the North and South American continents; and the world to know that they are sinners, apart from God, lost, condemned and dying; and that Jesus Christ the Son of God, and God the Son died on the cross, was buried, and bodily arose again for you (for us all) that we might be redeemed to God, and have the peace of God which passes all understanding.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)

“And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”” Luke 19:9-10

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 351

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the lotteries in our States and Nation to cease.  They are, in the end a tax on the poverty stricken people of the nation, through the deceit and lust for more.

“And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”” Luke 12:15 (NKJV)

Christian Persecution

There are a few people I know who have jail, and prison ministries. They do it because they believe God has called them to go to the places where men and women are incarcerated for crimes against God and humanity. Yet, these minister to the men and women who are willing to listen to the message of Christ; the hope for all mankind; even the murderers and rapist and child molesters.

The event from Acts which we read today is not of criminals who have violated God’s laws, but violators of men’s laws which are against God. The apostles had preached when they were ordered not to preach in that name of “Jesus”; yet, they did. Hear what they said:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand, a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” Acts 5:29-32 (KJV)

This takes place following their arrest, and imprisonment. An “Angel of the Lord” has come to them in the “common prison” and opened the doors, and sent them to preach in the temple. They went, and that is where they are found the next morning. Doing as they had been told by God.

When men’s laws are against God’s law, then Christian men and women are to continue their practices of being Christian; obeying God’s Word, His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments. I do not think we Christians should be surprised by persecution in a dark world. We ought rather, be surprised that we are not; because the apostle Paul has written, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV). Now, I do not want to be persecuted, but really, if I am not; am I really living a godly life? The apostles were.

As Peter stated above; “We ought to obey God rather than men”. That begins through our faith; trusting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour; obeying Him in our lives; being His witness.

One thing this passage of Scripture teaches is that the freedom of speech is from God, not men; therefore men cannot take it away. Let our speech be always with words that glorify our God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

This Man will Receive You

One of the things that causes jealousy in the hearts and minds of men and women is when someone else gets more notice, and attention than we do.

This jealousy is quite evident among the religious leaders of Jesus’s time on earth with us; walking, talking, teaching, living for the Father, and His glory. The way He lived, the words He spoke, the kindness in His voice to the weak, the lame, the sick, the poor, and the outcasts was what drew these people to Him.

Luke the Historian of the life of Christ writes:

“Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” Luke 15:1-2 (KJV)

Why do the religious always want to seek after those who have? Why do those, even, who profess themselves to be Christian go after the same? Jesus had no ill motive of seeking what the wealthy, religious leaders had to offer. He came to save souls (Luke 19:10).

The publicans were the most hated of people. They were the tax collectors of the day. Hebrew people who were collecting money from their own to give to the Roman government; therefore very despised, and hated; yet, Jesus would sit with them speak with them, and treat them with dignity and respect.

As Christians in the world of 2015 we must be as Jesus and treat all people; no matter their race, their economic level; their political affiliation; their illnesses; or transgressions; must treat them with the love and respect that Jesus would. Yes! That would include the muslim religion, and any other religious sect.

In loving them; we still confront sin; and its crippling, killing affects on those who are enslaved by it.

Draw near to Christ today. He loves you so much that He died on the cross for you, was buried, and rose again.

Amazed by the Power of God

We ought always be amazed by the power of God. We ought always realize that God is working, moving, accomplishing His purposes in the world around us and in our own lives.

Previous to the verses we look at today Jesus had been on the Mount called “Transfiguration”, and He was speaking with Moses and Elijah. A wonderful experience for Peter, James and John, and where they heard the Father say, “This is My Beloved Son: hear Him”.

Coming down from the mountain they encounter a man who has a son possessed of a demon, and is tormented by the evil one; tearing, tossing, torturing him with great pain, and grief to the father of the son. The other nine disciples have been powerless to cast out the demon. Jesus has come and speaks to the “unclean spirit”, and the demon leaves, the son is healed, and is delivered to his father (Luke 9:28-42)

Jesus knew the time of His death was near. He had spoken to the disciples of His death on previous occasions, but they did not yet understand.

“And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, He said unto His disciples, Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of Man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask Him of that saying.” Luke 9:43-45 (KJV)

In verses 51 and 53 we can note that Jesus had His “face set to go to Jerusalem”, and that means all the way to the cross, and to death for our sins.

In the words of the text above Jesus wanted the disciples to know and to understand; but it just had not happened yet.

In the Gospel account of Matthew Peter attempts to rebuke Jesus after Jesus has spoken of His coming death (Matthew 16:21-23). A disciple rebuking his Master? I almost laugh at the thought; but Jesus rebukes Peter, and even tells Satan “Get behind me Satan”. For man, or the whole human race to think that they can thwart the power, plan, and purposes of God is even more laughable. See Psalm 2:4.

For the Christian today we can understand what has taken place; yet we must have the heart, mind and soul for hearing it, hiding His Word in our hearts, and obeying it. We can pray for understanding and wisdom in the Word; but if we never read it, and study it, there will not be any of wisdom or understanding. There will also be no growing faith in Him.

O Christian; hear Him. Do His word. Let these sayings sink down into your ears; and your heart. Jesus has been delivered into the hands of men. He died, was buried, and bodily arose and came out of that grave, and He ever lives.

Forgiveness and Loving Jesus

Do you love Jesus? How much do you love Jesus? Loving Jesus is a response to His love for us. He loves you. He loves me. He has proven that love by coming as a babe in a manger, living a life solely dedicated to the word, way, walk, and witness of His Father.

He proved His love for His Father and us all the way to the cross of death (Philippians 2:8). He suffered, He bled, He died for our sins. Who will love Him most?

When Jesus had gone home with a Pharisee named Simon; Simon had not been a bit hospitable to Jesus. He had failed to wash His feet; as was the custom of hospitality in that day; neither had he dried them. Then Simon; after a “sinful woman” came in and washed His feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair; begins to accuse her, and Jesus.

That is when Jesus gives one of His short parables with a big heart:

“And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.” Luke 7:40-53 (KJV)

This Pharisee saw himself as a righteous man, and this woman as a sinner; even accusing Jesus of not knowing about the woman.  The apostle Paul saw himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

The woman did not ask a thing of Jesus. She only sat at His feet washing them with her tears, and drying them with her hair; pouring out her love for her Saviour. She never condemned the Pharisee for his coldness. She only loved Jesus.

“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so” are the words from a precious “Children’s” Hymn. I am a child of faith. I know Jesus loves me; but I often ask myself, “How much do I love Jesus?” May we who are Christians show our love for Him through loving and doing His word, His will, and His way. Putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10ff), and putting off all that is wicked, vile and evil in the world.

Our Need to Pray

Prayer is something many people talk about. Prayer: just what is it? Is prayer not one speaking with God?

Can an unredeemed individual pray to a holy God; and get an answer? The Psalmist has written, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalm 66:18).

How important is prayer? It was important to Jesus. It was His time with His Father, and provided solace, strength, and wisdom in decision making. When He was overwhelmed by masses of people; He would go away to pray (Luke 5:12-16). Hear what Luke says…

“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12 (KJV)

Let me just close by adding this comment. If Jesus the Son of God, God the Son needed to pray; so do I. I cannot live, breath or have any being without Him.

To whom do we pray? To the Father through the Son; because He made the way possible into the very throne of His grace; to find help in the time of need. (See Hebrews 4:16).

NOW, Let us go pray, and pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Living / Walking in the Power of the Spirit

For the Christian to accomplish any thing for the glory of the Lord, and not for the glory, or boasting of one’s own self; and/or ego; it must be done by the Spirit of God in us.

It is GOD who gets things done. It is God who saves a soul. It is God who opens eyes to His revelation. It is God who gives understanding and wisdom in the ministry of His Word. How did Jesus live?

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.” Luke 4:14-15 (KJV)

Following His baptism Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). He then proceeded to go to the synagogues teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord; which by the way was the Old Testament. There was no New Testament written at that time. He taught them things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).

In everything Jesus did or said; He did so by the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit of God. He did not move from one place to the other, except by the Spirit. He did not speak a word, except by the Spirit. He did not do any healing without the Spirit of God upon Him.

Hear what Paul the apostle says of the Spirit of God and the Christian,

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galations 5:16

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galations 5:25

This is living as Jesus lived. It is impossible without the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus. Walk in the Spirit; and we will have the Power of the Spirit.

Waiting Patience

There is a lack of patience in me. There is a lack of patience in me toward other people at times; especially when I am driving down the highway; or in the city. I must often correct my mind and thinking as I am driving. Many times; probably all the time; that correction comes from God’s Spirit in me.

In the 49 plus years that I have been born again I can see that God has grown me, and improved my patience and understanding for others, and probably less for myself. Where am I going with the “Patience” thing? I am going to tell you about a man who had waited for many years for the coming of Messiah; the first coming.

It is written,

“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. And Joseph and His mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him.” Luke 2:25-33 (KJV)

Simeon had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the Christ [Messiah] of Israel, and Saviour of the world.

Now, here was a man who was patient; waiting for the coming of Christ. I am fairly certain he must have occasionally thought that it was not going to happen; but he keeps holding on to God’s promise.

You see faith is not the absence of doubt; it is believing in spite of the doubt. The enemy will continuously throw detours, roadblocks, and lies at you; but you just keep believing. You must keep believing and trusting God, and His Word. God has never failed, and He never will.

As Christians in 2015, and beyond, we believe that God has promised that His Son Jesus is returning soon; and Jesus has said Himself, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…” (John 14:3); so either we patiently await His coming, or we quit believing, and in doing; and so we end up saying, that God is a liar. He is faithful, and will bring to pass every word He has spoken.

Let us patiently wait. Wait and occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13). He is coming. Get ready by calling on His name, believing that He died for your sins, was buried, and He bodily rose from the grave; and He is alive today.

In Order… That You Might Know the Certainty…

It is not a rare thing; but Doctors in successful practices do not often leave their work to enter something else; such as to be a writer; a historian, in this case. Some have and do. When one leaves their medical practice to be a minister of Jesus Christ and His gospel that is a calling on them.

Luke was such a man; such a doctor. Luke is the Bible’s only Gentile author. He is thorough in his writing and record. He records what is known to be true. His history recorded is of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ.

For a few days we will be looking at the historical account of Jesus Christ through the record of Luke. First let us hear what he says concerning his purpose for this record.

“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” Luke 1:1-4 (KJV)

There were some writings that had came out that were absolutely false; and he set out to correct them with a true account. Let me assure you that he is not speaking of, or writing about the three other Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and John.

He was also set on the testimony of “eyewitnesses”, and he was very set on being truthful about the matter of Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Saviour, and the returning King. To “Theophilus” he wanted him to know “the certainty of those things” – the truth of it all concerning Jesus’s life – His birth, His life, His ministry, miracles, power, and His death, burial and resurrection.

The book of Acts is also a historical book written by Doctor Luke, and he addresses Theophilus in that writing as well.

My friend; Jesus is the Christ; Son of God and God the Son. Be sure you know and trust Him today.

The House that will Endure the Trials, Tremors, and Troubles of Life

“And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”  ~Jesus (Luke 6:46-49)

Making Judgments, Bearing Fruit, From the Heart

“Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?  The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, ‘Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye,’ when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”   ~Jesus (Luke 6:39-45)

When You Love Your Enemies

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”  ~Jesus (Luke 6:27-36)

Blessing on the Poor, the Hungry, the Sorrowful, and the Persecuted for Jesus’s Name Sake

“Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! For ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! For ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”  ~Jesus (Luke 6:20-26)

Jesus Does Good on the Sabbath Day

“And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him.  But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, ‘Rise up, and stand forth in the midst.’ And he arose and stood forth.  Then said Jesus unto them, ‘I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save life, or to destroy it?  And looking round about upon them all, He said unto the man, ‘Stretch forth thy hand.’ And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.”  ~Jesus doing good anyway (Luke 6:6-11)

Jesus and Labor on the Sabbath

“And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that He went through the corn fields; and His disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.  And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, ‘Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?’  And Jesus answering them said, ‘Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?’ And He said unto them, that ‘The Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath.’”  ~Jesus addressing the Pharisees concerning the sabbath  (Luke 6:1-5)

Sinners – Not the Righteous are Called to Repentance

“And after these things He went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, “Follow Me.”  And he left all, rose up, and followed Him.  And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.  But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against His disciples, saying, ‘Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?’  And Jesus answering said unto them, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  And they said unto Him, ‘Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?’  And He said unto them, “Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.”  And He spake also a parable unto them; “No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, ‘The old is better.'”  ~Jesus dealing with the scribes and Pharisees (Luke 5:27-39)

Elijah, Elisha and Jesus

“Ye will surely say unto Me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal thyself. Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Thy country.'”  And He said, “Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.  But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.”  ~Jesus (Luke 4:23-27)

Jesus is the Fulfillment of Scripture

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.'”  ~Jesus (Luke 4:18-21)

Jesus Encounters the Devil

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered.  And the devil said unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.’  And Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’  And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said unto Him, ‘All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.’  And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’  And he brought Him to Jerusalem, and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence: for it is written, ‘He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.’  And Jesus answering said unto him, ‘It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’  And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season.”  ~Jesus as He dealt with Satan (Luke 4:1-13)

Gethsemane

It has been some time since I posted anything.  I received this today by email from Bible Gateway, and thought I would share it with you.  It is from a sermon preached by Charles H. Spurgeon February 08, 1863.

Gethsemane

‘And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ Luke 22:44

Suggested Further Reading: Mark 14:32–42

Behold the Saviour’s unutterable woe. The emotions of that dolorous night are expressed by several words in Scripture. John describes him as saying four days before his passion, ‘Now is my soul troubled;’ as he marked the gathering clouds he hardly knew where to turn himself, and cried out ‘What shall I say?’ Matthew writes of him, ‘he began to be sorrowful and very heavy.’ Upon the word ademonein translated ‘very heavy,’ Goodwin remarks that there was a distraction in the Saviour’s agony since the root of the word signifies ‘separated from the people—men in distraction, being separated from mankind.’ What a thought, my brethren, that our blessed Lord should be driven to the very verge of distraction by the intensity of his anguish. Matthew represents the Saviour himself as saying ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.’ Here the word perilupos means encompassed, encircled, overwhelmed with grief. ‘He was plunged head and ears in sorrow and had no breathing-hole,’ is the strong expression of Goodwin. Mark records that he began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy. In this case thambeisthai, with the prefix ek, shows extremity of amazement, like that of Moses when he did exceedingly fear and quake. Luke uses the strong language of my text—‘being in an agony.’ These expressions are quite sufficient to show that the grief of the Saviour was of the most extraordinary character, well justifying the prophetic exclamation ‘Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me.’

For meditation: The instruments we associate with the shedding of Christ’s blood were wielded by men—the scourge, crown of thorns, nails and spear (John 19:1–2,18,34). The fact that he sweat ‘great drops of blood’ in Gethsemane before any man could lay a finger on him gives us an important glimpse behind the scenes—his life was not taken from him by men; it was given by him for men (John 10:17–18).

Sermon no. 493
8 February (1863)

Day 72 – The Son of Man and The Scriptures

In reading the gospels, especially Matthew, one cannot help but notice the importance the writers place on showing that the Scriptures are fulfilled.  One cannot help but notice, also how much Jesus Himself refers to the Scriptures, the prophets, and in Luke 24 Jesus even mentions the Psalms.  I am going to post a few of those verses concerning the Scriptures today, pray you will look them up and read the context of their writings.

This first excerpt of Scripture is from the story of the rich man and Lazarus,

“Abraham saith unto him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’  And he said, ‘Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.’  And he said unto him, ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.'” Luke 16:29-31 (KJV)

The next quite obviously is of Jesus’s coming crucifixion,

“Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.  For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again.” Luke 18:31-33

The next excerpt is as Jesus appears to the two on the road to Emmaus and explains the Scripture to them;

“Then He said unto them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?’  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

The final one in Luke is when Jesus has appeared to all the disciples together in one place, and it is here that He mentions the Psalms;

“And He said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.  Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49

We need to ask ourselves, “Do I put enough relevance upon Scripture?”  After all the Scriptures are they which testify of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 71 – Son of Man

As we looked at the gospel of Matthew we saw Jesus as the King.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords at which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…  In the gospel of Mark Jesus is a servant to men.  In the gospel of Luke He is the Son of man.

Matthew had a genealogy of kings.  Mark has no genealogy.  Luke has a genealogy of man showing Jesus is human, yet the God/Man.  Someone put it this way, “The Son of God became the Son of man; that the sons of men, might become the sons of God”.

My reading today was Mark 15 – 16 and Luke 1 – 12.

In the genealogy of Jesus we find in the beginning of it these words,

“And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…”  Luke 3:23 (KJV)

That same genealogy ends with,

“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” 3:38

Matthew’s genealogy begins with Abraham, and goes through Joseph and Mary, through David.  Luke’s account begins with Jesus and goes backwards all the way to Adam.

My reading this morning took me a little longer than it has, due to the length of the chapters in Luke.  Great reading.

Let me leave you with these words from Jesus, the Son of Man,

“Also I say unto you, ‘Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.  And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.”  Luke 12:8-10

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032111

When I was a boy I spent many days and hours digging for treasure.  I had all kinds of holes dug in the ground around our house, in the pastures, the cedar glades, or wherever there was a place I thought that there could be treasure.  I did this probably when I was 8 – 10 years of age.

All the time I had a treasure I didn’t see, and that was my family, my parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins.  Later on I received a treasure that I have to this day, and will have it through all eternity, and that treasure is the treasure of Jesus Christ in my heart, my life, my inner most being; eternal life with God and Him who died for me.  That is the greatest treasure.

Jesus said in Luke 12:34;

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Now there is not a thing wrong with desiring treasure.  You will notice though that the verse does not say “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also”, and that is what many of us probably think.  That is not what Jesus says though.

We already have a treasure.  Defining our treasure is a key to being at peace; recognizing our treasure.

I knew a couple several years ago who built a new house; they gave a great testimony of loving Jesus Christ, being great givers, and being church people.  For a while after building their house they  became somewhat frightened or nervous about leaving their home at night.  They were worried that someone might break into their house, and either steal some of their new things or vandalize the house.  In their hearts, at least for awhile their treasure was in that new house; and they were not at all at peace.

Where is your treasure?  If it is truly in Christ Jesus, then you will be at peace, and fear nothing.

“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032011

There are a lot of comments of Jesus’s coming as a babe in a manger, living as a man without sin, and that He came to be an example to us of how we should live.  Some say he came to perform many and mighty miracles.  He did do those things, but they were not why He came.

Looking at what Luke writes in chapter nine,

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.  And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.”  Luke 9:51-53 (KJV)

We can know why Jesus came by what He says in the gospel of John, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  He came because He loved us and was willing to go to Jerusalem, and die on a cruel, rugged, Roman cross for the sins of mankind, as the Lamb of God.

As we look at the above Scripture we see stated that, “When the time was come that He should be received up…”  He had a determination to go to Jerusalem.  From very early in His ministry He knew He must be about what He came to do, and that was His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).  Jerusalem and the cross was the Father’s business.

Would to God we would obey the Father’s will, and did His business as Jesus our Lord has done.  He now sits honored and glorified at the Father’s right hand.

Follow Jesus, believe Him and be delivered from sin, its condemnation and death; and live eternally in the presence of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 031911

The Observations today will be short but needful; maybe I should say, a needful reminder.

Prayer and communion with God is needful for today’s Christian.  Some may believe that prayer and communion with God is the same, but let me show you what I believe to be a difference.  I believe you can pray without communion with God; but maybe then, that would not be prayer.  However, I don’t believe you can have communion with God without prayer.  Communion is having an intimate relationship with the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a world of prayer going on that is not directed to the God who created all things; the Father of Jesus Christ; therefore are not in communion with God.

Meanwhile, back to the topic of prayer.  Jesus prayed.  He spent nights in prayer,

“And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12 (KJV)

Jesus had just healed a man whose hand was withered, and on the sabbath day.  There were scribes and Pharisees who were angry, even mad (v. 11), because of this “heinous” act of healing.  In the days following Jesus went to pray.  That doesn’t mean that He never prayed before this, but that He went away for a time to pray.

I want to confess to you that I do not pray as oft, in this way, that I should.  My praying is mostly when I am listening to God speak as I read His Word, and as I go about through each day.  There are times we need to spend great amounts of time in prayer with God.

Just as Jesus went to a mountain to pray.  To a specific place – a mountain – so too do you and I need to have a time and place to pray unto God who created all things.  I want to be specific about that.  God, YHWH [YaHWeH], or Jehovah is the God of creation, of heaven, of Jesus Christ.  He has a Son, and His name is Jesus.  Praying to anyone else is fruitless speaking to oneself.

Spend time with GOD in prayer.  With our world seeing the chaos, catastrophic events, mass death and destruction happening we need to pray as we have never prayed before.  We need to pray that many of the people who are survivors of these cataclysmic events will trust in the LORD with all their hearts, believe in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life in Him.  We need to pray for encouragement of those who are aiding these people; and the searchers who are looking for those still trapped beneath all the rubble.  Than cannot be an easy, or non troubling task.  Most of all we need to pray for the coming of Christ to put an end to the reign of Satan on earth.

Join me in prayer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 031811

The gospel of Matthew deals with Jesus as King; the gospel of Mark shows Him as servant; in the gospel of Luke we see Him as a man, but more than a man, the God-Man; Son of God and Son of Man.

Someone once said,  “The Son of God became the Son of Man, that the sons of men might become the sons of God.”  O, the grace, mercy, love and power of God; how marvelous He truly is.

Looking at the genealogies of Matthew and then, of Luke we see a difference in the way they are reported.  Matthew begins with Jesus Christ Himself and ends with Joseph.  Luke begins the Joseph and goes backward to God Himself.  Joseph is declared by Luke to be “son of Heli” who is believed to be Joseph’s father in law, thus being Mary’s genealogy.

There are some,  who would tell us that the reports of the two gospel accounts, being so different means they are opposed to one another, thus contradict.  There is another alternative to that.  God never contradicts, this is God’s Word.  It is correct, God is correct.  Matthew gives us the genealogy of Joseph, and Luke gives us the genealogy of Mary.

Who is John the Baptist?

“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 them 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 (KJV)

He was the promised son of elderly parents, Zacharias, and Elisabeth.  They had been unable to have children for all the years they had been married, and then, one day while Zacharias is ministering within the temple an angel comes to him and tells him that he and Elisabeth will have a son.  They are to name him John.  He is to be the messenger of the Messiah, preparing the way before Him.

The Baptist gives glory to the Christ of God, and takes none for himself.  He is a man who lived in the wilderness, dressed in camel’s hair, and ate honey and locusts (Matthew 3:4).  He preached the message of repentance, calling the people to be rid of sin in their hearts and lives, the Christ is coming.

Many were seeing the Baptist as though he might be that Christ.  He, however, tells them that he is not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes.  That One is “mightier than I”.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  John the Baptist points the people to the Messiah/Christ of Israel; who is the Savior of the world.

That One, the Messiah has come to die for the sins of the world.  He is set to come again, to rid the world of sin.  He will come.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Lift Up Your Head…

Jesus said, …for your redemption draweth nigh (Luke 21:28).

I don’t think I have kept it much of a secret, nor have I intended to.  The thing I have not kept secret is that – Jesus Christ is coming again, and it is soon.

Joel Rosenberg, author of “The Last Jihad” and “The Ezekiel Option” as well as other novels has a blog where he keeps his readers informed of world events; especially those concerning Israel.  In one of his latest post he writes of articles from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

The article from the New York Times tells of the work being done on ruins of ancient Babylon and info concerning the rebuilding of BabylonThe Article from the Wall Street Journal is concerning a massive gas well that has been discovered off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea”.

You may read Joel Rosenberg’s blog by clicking this link.

Hope this finds you ready for our Lord’s return; or that you get ready “today is the day of salvation”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Just A Thought 04/16/09

Jesus, And The NRA

There is quite a bit of talk about firearms and whether we should regulate them, or even ban them.  I got to thinking about how would Jesus respond to the idea of firearms, and it came to mind that the weapon of Jesus’s day was the sword.

At one point in the ministry of Jesus He gave commandment for His disciples to get a sword;

” Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Luke 22:36 (KJV)

We have Christian and non-Christian alike arguing against having handguns, or arguing for having them.  In the United States of America it is the right of every American; except for former prison inmates; to keep and bear arms.  The Second amendment of the USA states:

Second Amendment –

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

People die in the USA every day probably by some kind of gun shot accident, intentional murder, or manslaughter; and many who see these things think the answer is taking away our right to “keep and bear arms”. 

I was reading another blog the other day, by a brother in Christ who was proposing further gun restrictions due to murders, street battles and such.  He quoted the old adage, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people”.  Only he added his addendum on it by saying “Guns kill people”, or something like that.

Murders and hatred come from the heart.  Jesus told us that.  If you take away guns there will still be murders.  There were people murdered in Jesus’s day by the  sword, by stones and stoning.  Maybe we should ban kitchen knives, and stones.

The answer is changing the hearts of men.  Jesus said,

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Matthew 15:18-20 (KJV)

I still don’t know that Jesus would be an advocate of the NRA [National Rifle Association] the guard and protector of the Second Amendment of the USA; but I do know that He would advocate us presenting the Gospel of  His death, burial and resurrection; because there is the power to change hearts and lives.

Jesus also said,

“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Matthew 26:52 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

G. Campbell Morgan – Golgotha

The following are excerpts from his sermon “The Darkness of Golgotha” which I used in a message a few years ago, in a message I titled “The Darkness of the Cross”; dealing with those three hours Jesus and the world spent in darkness during the crucifixion.  Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34;  Luke 23:44-46

“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to….put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brought to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” .

“…He died, not of a broken heart, not of human brutality, not of murder by human hands; but by His own volition He yielded up the Ghost, and His spirit, commended to God passed to God. The death that saves was not that physical dissolution, but the infinite spiritual mystery of the three hours and the darkness, which being passed, He Himself did say, ‘It is finished’”.

“That does not answer the inquiry as to what happened. I have no answer for that. Only this I know, that in that hour of darkness He passed into the place of the ultimate wrestling of evil in actual experience. There is light as I hear the final word, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit’ (Luke 23:46), for the word is a word which declares that whatever the transaction was, it was accomplished; that whatever the dying indicated, it was done.”

“Someone may say to me, ‘Cannot God forgive out of pure love?’ I shall answer, ‘If He can, I cannot.’ If He could forgive me for the wrongs of which I am conscious, and that have left behind them their stain and pollution – If He could forgive my sins by simply saying, ‘Never mind them’, then I cannot so forgive myself. My conscience cries for a cleansing that is more than a sentiment of pity. Somehow, somewhere, in order that I may have forgiveness, there must be tragedy, something mightier than devilish sin.”

“I do not know what happened in the darkness, but this I know, that as I have come to the cross and received the suggestions of the material unveiling, I have found my heart, my spirit, my life brought into a realm of healing spices, to the consciousness of the forgiveness of sins. And there is no other gospel of forgiveness.”

These excerpts are taken from a sermon preached by G. Campbell Morgan, titled THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA.

Have a great Resurrection Sunday.  Remember as Christians we really celebrate His Resurrection every week of the year.

T.A.

The Rest Of His Ministry

Luke 21:34-36; 4:18-19

Purpose –  To proclaim the purpose of the second coming of Jesus, why Jesus stopped with, “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…”.

In this message I want us to remember the words of Jesus when He appeared in the synagogue, read from Isaiah 61:1 & 2, but stopped short from finishing the text.  Where there were probably many Jewish people expecting a king to come, deliver them from Rome, and set them free; they were not expecting a healer, Lord and Savior.

The proclamation of Isaiah states;

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)

You can see by these verses that Jesus never read the whole statement.  Was there an error in His reading by stopping short?  He stopped at the phrase, “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” and never continued with, and the day of vengeance of our God…” and the following words of  promise.  So what do we do with this seeming conflict?  Realize there is no conflict, but rather a prophetic word of urgency.

It is as though Jesus was saying, “I am here now to do these things.  When I come again the other, that not yet done, will be done.”

THE MINISTRY OF JESUS AT HIS FIRST COMING (Luke 4:18-19).  We are told by Scripture that Jesus came to do the will of God.  He said, “Know you not that I must be about My Father’s business”  and He also said, “I am come to seek and to save the lost.”  His purpose was not to heal the sick, raise the dead; that was His ministry, but not His purpose for becoming man.

He did not come to be served, but to serve, He said, “and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  We are told that near the end of His ministry on earth He had His “face was as though He would go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).  As you read the gospels Jesus spent His life doing what would please the Father, and accomplish His will, and glory.

In Jesus’s work and ministry He declared this is the time for salvation, “…The acceptable year of the LORD”.  The apostle Paul wrote, “…now is the day of salvation”(2 Corinthians 6:2).

JESUS WARNS OF A TIME OF SPIRITUAL LAXNESS,  DARKNESS, AND WORRIES OF LIFE (v. 34;  1 Timothy 4:1-4).  Can we as people get caught up in our everyday business, life, life pursuits, ballgames, vacations, etc., and not give a care about our spiritual well being?

YES!  We can.  It is often so easy to get engulfed, overwhelmed and busied by life that spending time with God, living for Him by Biblical living, and sharing the gospel is never on our mind.  There may be more to Jesus’s words than just those things though.  The word “surfeiting” expresses along with the word “overcharged” over doing the food and drink; making gluttons and drunkards of one’s self.  The party atmosphere is not the best atmosphere.  It may be fun, and it may be exciting, but what happens after it is over?  If there is overeating, gluttonous eating, then there may be sickness, pain, misery.  If the over indulgence is with drink, and it is alcoholic then there won’t be a whole lot of difference.

Jesus is warning of spiritual darkness that can creep in silently, and take hold of your life, when you least expect it.  I wonder if the apostle Paul did not have Jesus’s words here in mind when he wrote,

“But ye, 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.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 (KJV)

Jesus would not want His followers to be in darkness.  He gives us a warning to stay alert at all times, no matter how good or bad the economy, or our health may be.  Jesus also warned of the times being similar to the time of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39).  People simply going about their daily lives, with thier problems, business, and life in particular, as though everything would go on as it is.

THE WHOLE EARTH ENSNARED; NO ONE LEFT UNTOUCHED BY THIS EVIL (v. 35;  Revelation 3:10; 11:10; 13:8 ).  This verse reminds me of these three verses in the Revelation of our Lord which say, “(Them, They, or All)that dwell upon the earth”, and Jesus is giving all plenty of warning of a time coming on earth where the “whole earth” will be ensnared in unrighteous, debauchery, loose living, drunkenness, and gluttonous acts.

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10 (KJV)

“And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” Revelation 11:10 (KJV)

“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 (KJV)

Let it be understood that we are all visitors on this earth; meaning by that that we are all only here for a short time.  Some of us have realized that there is another and better place “far away” for which we can go when we are prepared.  We make our home here, see it as only temporary, and live our lives for the One who has sent His Son to redeem us from all our sin.

It seems very real to me, that Jesus is telling all who heard Him speak the words, and all who would read these words in years to come, that only those whose hearts are dwelling on earth, making this a permanent home, are the one’s who will be ensnared.  Trapped by the lies of a deceptive leader who would lead all who follow him to destruction, and eternity in the fire.

BEFORE IT COMES BE SURE YOU ARE COUNTED WORTHY TO ESCAPE THESE THINGS AND STAND BEFORE THE SON OF MAN (v. 36).  Jesus’s words “Watch… and pray always”, and then, “…that ye may be accounted worthy of to escape all these things…” implies what I have said above.  There is a way of escaping the traps of what is coming on this world, and that is that we “May be accounted worthy of escape”.

How is one counted worthy of escape?  Is it with good labors?  Good works? The right ritual worship?  The right baptism?  NO!  It is nothing according to the flesh of men that makes one worthy to stand in the presence of the Son of  Man, and accounted by Him fully worthy.  This is the work of God alone.

The Word of God tells us plainly:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 (KJV)

No one can be accounted worthy to stand fully righteous and worthy, except by the cross of Jesus Christ; that is His death, His burial and His bodily resurrection from the dead.  He the perfect, sinless, Son of God gave Himself, a sacrifice, that those who would trust in Him might be saved.  Through His sacrifice we are accounted as worthy.  Accounted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass.

The reason for our need to “Watch… and pray” is so that it does not come on us suddenly and we are caught unaware of His taking us out.  This is our means of discerning the times and the seasons of men.  We, as Christians, ought always be looking for the appearing of our Savior, and listening for His shout.

AT THE APPEARING OF JESUS; HIS JUDGMENT; AND FOLLOWING  (Isaiah 61:2-3ff).  When Jesus stood in the synagogue and read from Isaiah 61, and stopped reading at the verse ending with “…the acceptable year of the LORD”, and closed the book He was saying that time had come, the rest would come later.  His first coming was not as the religious leaders had expected, and they refused to accept Jesus because of that they tried to kill Him, then, by throwing Him over a cliff (Luke 4:28-30).

When you continue reading in Isaiah 61 you find;

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)

“The day of vengeance of our God”, and Jesus never came in His incarnation to bring the wrath and judgment of God on sin.  He came to be the instrument of receiving the wrath and  judgment of God for sin.  He took the wrath that was ours upon Himself, that mankind might have a path, a bridge, a “narrow way” before the very throne, and the very face of God.

If you will take note of verse 3 above, when He comes again to earth, it will be to comfort those who mourn, giving them “beauty for ashes,… oil of joy for mourning,… garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”  His coming again will be to establish the kingdom on earth, and to restore Israel, fulfilling all His promises to them.

Watch and pray that you may be accounted worthy to escape the wrath that is coming upon all who dwell upon the earth.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Scripture, Jesus, And The Christian

Purpose:  As Jesus came to do the Father’s will, fulfilling Scriptures, so too are those who follow Him fulfilling Scripures.

OUTLINE of Luke 4:14-21

I.  JESUS RETURNS TO GALILEE IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT  AND TEACHES (v. 14-15).

II.  JESUS IS FAITHFUL TO ATTEND THE PLACE OF WORSHIP (v. 16).

III.  JESUS PARTICIPATED IN KEEPING THE SCRIPTURES AS CENTRAL TO WORSHIP (v. 17).

IV.  JESUS READ THE SCRIPTURES AND APPLIED THEM TO HIMSELF (vv. 18-19).

V.  JESUS THE FULFILLMENT OF SCRIPTURE (vv. 20-21;  Revelation 19:10).

THE CHRISTIAN’S TIME OF TESTING EQUIPS US TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS (vv. 14-15).  Following the baptism of Jesus by John, Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness for testing.  Testing is not just to show us, what we have, but to strengthen us for the journey ahead.

The testing which Jesus endured, survived, and defeated the temptations of the enemy were needed by Him, to strengthen Him for the journey which lay ahead; all the way to the cross.  Let’s remember that Luke’s gospel is written concerning the “God-Man” Jesus Christ.  Luke shows the humanity of Jesus more than the other gospel writers.  As Luke emphasizes His humanity he does not degrade, lessen, or violate the Deity of Christ (as written by John); the Royalty of Christ (as written by Matthew), nor the Servanthood of Christ (as written of by Mark).   The four gospels nowhere, and at no place ever contradict one another; they rather complement one another; giving us the fuller story of Jesus Christ.

Jesus stood up in the synagogue to read the portion of Isaiah.  It is noted in Nehemiah that when  the Scriptures were read, “…All the people stood up” (Nehemiah 8:5).  This was done in reverence to God’s Word.  Jesus, and it may be that all who would read Scripture in the synagogue or Temple were to stand.

With the test Jesus passed He was strengthened to face the temptations of the people.  Some wanted Him to be their king, and even came at least once to force Him to be their king (John 6:15).  Surely, this was a temptation for Him; however He would not take a shortcut, nor detour around the destination that was to the cross.

The Christian’s walk in the Spirit of Christ is not one filled with popularity, nor easy shortcuts which can often turn out to be sad mistakes, and even sin.  Christians walking in the Spirit follow the path of the cross.  “Take up the cross and follow Me…” (Mark 8:34, 10:21;  Matthew 16:24;  Luke 9:23; 14:27) Jesus said, and is still calling those who follow Him to die to self, and the world.  There is no walking in the Spirit of Jesus without the cross of the follower.

THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WILL BE FAITHFUL TO SUPPORT THE WORSHIP OF THEIR LOCAL CHURCH (v. 16)  “I am part of the invisible church.”  Have you ever heard such a comment or something similar, and usually added to it is this comment; “I am not a part of any church, I attend all churches, as God leads”.  What they mean is that they are “Church hoppers”.  These types of people go from church to church, and more times than not are a source of contempt, and discontent, first in themselves and then to others.

We see Jesus attending synagogue when He was not in Jerusalem to attend the Temple meetings.  He attended the synagogue of His home town of Nazareth.

Becoming a member of a local church; and this is coming from a Baptist point of view, and I believe a Scriptural one; requires first of all that you be born again, having called on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation, and having been baptized by the Spirit into Christ.  Secondly, that you confess your faith to a local church, requesting water baptism showing the baptism of the Spirit which you have already received – baptism being by immersion (that is putting under the water)- testifying of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Scripture knows nothing of an “Invisible church”.  The letters which the apostle Paul wrote were written to local congregations.  For example, Romans was written to the Christians at Rome.  The Corinthian letters were written to Christians in Corinth.  The Thessalonian letters were written to the Christians in Thessalonica.  The Letters to the Seven Churches which were given by Jesus were to local churches.

Why does the Spirit filled Christian need to be in a local congregation.  First of all because Jesus is.  Secondly, for their spiritual well being; encouragement, solidarity, strength, faithfulness, systematic learning, worship, fellowship, ministry, discipleship, and reaching the lost to bring them in.  Third, a local congregation of God’s people bonding together in Christ can more affectively reach the community in which that local church meats.  I am sure there are more.

THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WILL INCLUDE DEDICATION TO THE PROMINENCE OF THE WORD OF GOD (v. 17).  In recent years it seems that the priority or prominence within the church has become gaining attendance, rather than placing priority, prominence, and authority to the Word of God.  The Christian who is walking in the Spirit of Jesus Christ wants, desires, for the Word of God to grow in prominence within their hearts and lives.

Where should the Bible/Scripture fit into the local church?  Where should it fit into any church which professes to be Christian?  The Word of God should always be front and center.  By front and center I mean that the Word of God is of the utmost priority and prominence, because it is Scripture which lifts up and glorifies Jesus and the Father.  It is Scripture which works by the Spirit to make alive those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).  It is Scripture by which a “…young man cleanse[s] his way…” (Psalm 119:9), by which all can cleanse their way.  The Scriptures, quickened by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path”  (Psalm 119:105).  In Baptist and some prostestant churches there is some symbolism seen in the way the worship area is designed.  When you enter the “sanctuary” you see the pulpit (as the place where the Word of God is proclaimed) up front, and in the center of the stage or platform, with the organ and piano to the right and left.  Many times the pews or chairs are angled toward the pulpit giving note to the priority of preaching the Scriptures.

Jesus stood showing priority, prominence and respect for reading the Word of God.

Prominence of Scripture must be done more than in a local congregation.  It must be lived out in the hearts and lives of Christians who worship in the local church.  The priority of Scripture must be seen in your life by your devotion to the reading, meditating upon what you have read, hearing what you have read – hearing God in what you have read, then taking it and applying it to your life, giving full priority and prominence to it within your life.

THE CHRISTIAN’S WALK IN THE SPIRIT OF JESUS WILL SHOW FORTH JESUS AND BE A PART IN THE FULFILLING OF SCRIPTURE (vv. 18-21).  As Jesus read the prophecy of Isaiah, He knew this spoke of Himself, and called on those who could hear Him to receive it, and believe it.   Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2a, cutting it off before, “And the day of  vengeance of our God…”.

Jesus came to these of whom He gives notice.  To preach good tidings to the poor; the heal the broken hearted;  to proclaim liberty to the captives; opening the prison to those who are bound.  Jesus came the first time to save us, to give us hope; and to assure us that there is a day coming when all evil will be dealt an eternal blow, which was initially dealt with on the cross a few years later.

Jesus’s presence with them in the synagogue, at Nazareth was not by accident, but was a clear declaration that Jesus is the God-Man who would do all these things.  With the commission given us by Jesus we are gifted to go and be a light, the salt, and the living word among those who have not heard.

In our obedience to Jesus Christ we fulfill the Scriptures in our own hearts and in the lives of others.  It would be more correct to say that God fulfills Scripture in our obedience to Jesus and His Word.

As Jesus stood to fulfill the reading of the Scriptures, He then sat down, as though to say, “It will be and is as good as done”.  That day all the answers to mankinds ills had made His appearance.  He still calls for people to follow Him.  The Scriptures tell us that Jesus is setting down at the Father’s right hand (Hebrews 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2;  1 Peter 3:22).

-Tim A. Blankenship

People, And The Incarnation Of Christ

Luke 2:25-38; Matthew 2:1-12, 16-18

PURPOSE –  In looking at the six people/personalities we see in this message the  question should arise, “Which personality do I fit?”, and lead us to a close walk with our personal Lord, Savior, and God.

OUTLINE –

I.  HEROD – AN EXAMPLE OF “ROYALTY” WHO HATED KING JESUS (v. Matthew 2:16-18).

II.  THE WISE MEN [MAGI] – AN EXAMPLE OF THOSE WHO SEEK HIM FROM FAR AWAY (Matthew 2:1-12).

III.  SHEPHERDS – AN EXAMPLE OF THE LOWLY WHO ARE CALLED TO WORSHIP HIM (Luke 2:8-9).

IV.  PRIESTS AND SCRIBES – AN EXAMPLE OF THE RELIGIOUS, INDIFFFERENT CROWD (Matthew 2:4).

V.  ANNA – THOSE FAITHFUL IN PRAYER DESPITE THE TIMES AND TRIBULATIONS THEY EXPERIENCE (Luke 2:36-38).

VI.  SIMEON – THOSE WHO ARE FAITHFUL IN EXPECTATION OF THE LORD’S COMING (Luke 2:25-35).

In looking at this list there are more we could include probably, but some, such as the “Inn keeper” who had no room, we have no details of him.  Joseph and Mary we have already looked at in the last message.  We could also think about the soldiers who murdered all the infant males in Bethlehem at the orders of king Herod.  You can tell by those I have mentioned here that there are more than we often think about.  The six listed above are the ones I want us to consider in this message.

HEROD – AN EXAMPLE OF “ROYALTY” WHO HATED KING JESUS (v. Matthew 2:16-18).  Herod was a jealous king.  One of whom has recorded history of being jealous of his sons and having them slaughtered so he could keep his “throne”.

When he hears from the “Magi” that there is a “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2) he calls for an urgent and diligent search where this King would be born.  He calls for the Priests and scribes.  They inform Herod that it is in Bethlehem, quoting Micah 5:2.

Herod asks the “wise men” to let him know when this child is found so that “I may worship Him to” (Matthew 2:8).  In his heart he was still that jealous envious “king” who wanted no one to take his throne.  Herod was actually a puppet king of Rome, and he wanted nothing to do with the worship of a “King of the Jews”  he was the king of the Jews.  His intent was to destroy Him, and it mattered not what the cost.

THE WISE MEN [MAGI] – AN EXAMPLE OF THOSE WHO SEEK HIM FROM FAR AWAY (Matthew 2:1-12).  These men who came, with no number mentioned as to how many there were, were Gentiles from some land away from Israel.  We are not told where they are from.  This is, however, evidence that God is sending His Son to and for the salvation of the whole world.

The following is from the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE;

“wise men from the East.  The number of wise men is not given.  The traditional notion that there were 3 stems from the number of gifts they brought.  These were not kings, but Magi, magicians or astrologers–possibly Zoroastrian wise men from Persia whose knowledge of Hebrew Scriptures could be traced back to the time of Daniel (cf. Dan. 5:11).”

From THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, note on Matthew 2:1, p. 1394, NKJV.

It almost appears in reading these verses that the “wise men” were the only ones interested in the star.  Not everyone is an star gazer, but God used this “Star” or whatever it was to capture the attention of three Gentile men, and they came and worshipped the King (Matthew 2:11).

Some one has said, “Wise men still seek Him”, and of that it is sure.  Though God may not in our day be using a star to guide men to Himself; He still uses circumstances, at times, and in some cultures He uses dreams that will cause the recipient of the dream to search out a messenger of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  God uses other people that may cause someone in another culture and another religion to search for the Jesus of the Bible.

Some may wonder well, “What do you do with that verse that says, ‘no one seeks for God’? and my answer to that is, They would not had God not been drawing them to Himself.

The “wise men” followed the direction of the Hebrew Scripture and they have been forever remembered by our Lord and God.  Those same Hebrew Scriptures are  in the Christian Bible.

SHEPHERDS – AN EXAMPLE OF THE LOWLY WHO ARE CALLED TO WORSHIP HIM (Luke 2:8-9).  The shepherds of Israel, the lowliest of society were the first to be notified of the birth of Jesus; and they were notified by the angels of heaven.  Oh, what glory, joy and rejoicing they brought to the lowly that night.

Shepherds were told where to find the “Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).   He was to be found in the manger where He lay.  Is there any better place to find a new born Lamb than in a manger?

In the world when a king is going to make an appearance the papers, the news stations make it clear and plain that the king is going to come, but invitations to see the king, visit with the king, dine with the king only go to the elite, and politically, and financially powerful ones.  This Kings appearace was revealed to the lowly of society.

In this we see that God cares for the people of all social levels; and I would add that if God tilts the scales in any favor it would probably be toward the lowly.

Are you hurting from financial troubles, loss of your job, illness, major health problems, disease, troubled marriage, divorce, death of a loved one? Then, this message is for you.  More importantly; Jesus is calling you to Himself.

PRIESTS AND SCRIBES – AN EXAMPLE OF THE RELIGIOUS, INDIFFFERENT CROWD (Matthew 2:4).  Here were the people, the men, who would have been the most familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures.  They were the religious ones.  They would have known the Scriptures which foretold the coming of their long awaited Messiah/King.  It just seems that they were unmoved by this request from the Magi.  They seem as though they don’t even care.

There are  many religious leaders who are engulfed in their business of ministry.  They are “Professional” at what they do.  They are always dressed in the proper attire (Please note this is not a slam against dressing decently and proper), speak professionally in their words, have their religion wrapped up in liturgy, lithargic learning that usually has nothing to do with Biblical understanding, but cultural, societal, and ecumenical unity.  While all they time paying no attention to the signs of the times in which we live that loudly proclaim that the Savior is near.

ANNA – THOSE FAITHFUL IN PRAYER DESPITE THE TIMES AND TRIBULATIONS THEY EXPERIENCE (Luke 2:36-38).  Anna was a young woman when she became a widow after being married for only 7 years.  She spent her time in the temple praying.  She had been a widow for 84 years, and had spent day and night in the temple praying.

We are not told why her young husband had died, and it is not necessary for us to know.  What we know is about Anna and her faithfulness to the Lord.  Her prayers must have been somewhat similar to that of Zachariah, which was partly for the coming of a deliverer for the nation of Israel, and they may have been seeking for the whole world as well.

After spending all those years praying for the appearing of this child, this Son of God, she recognizes Him, and gives thanks to God; and “spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”  (v. 38).

These things surrounding the birth of our Lord shout loudly to all who will hear, and to those who refuse to hear, that Jesus is God’s Christ, God’s Son, and is the only means of salvation in the world.

SIMEON – THOSE WHO ARE FAITHFUL IN EXPECTATION OF THE LORD’S COMING (Luke 2:25-35).  Simeon is an interesting character, and is often overlooked, even more is said of him than Anna.

We need to remember that this prophecy, along with the words of and about Anna took place on the eighth day after our Lord’s birth.  There was ceremony, circumcision, and worship conducted at the temple on this wonderful day.

Simeon was a man to whom the Lord had revealed that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ (v. 26).  He was a man getting up into years.  We are told that he was a just and devout man.  He was a man who feared God, and had been declared by God to be just, ie. made right with God.  Just as Anna is faithful in prayer, so is Simeon faithful in expectations of the Lord’s coming to deliver His people.

Simeon speaks to Joseph and Mary and all those present.  Let’s see what things he spoke:

1. “let me depart in peace”;
2. Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation;
3. Prepared before the face of all  people;
4. A light to the Gentiles;
5. The glory of the people of Israel.

The things he spoke to Mary and Joseph:

1. The child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel;
2. A sign which shall be spoken against, as a sword shall pierce your soul
3. That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

This “sign” that is spoken against is evidently the cross on which he would die.  That was the piercing of her soul, and at this cross the hearts of many are revealed.  It was the wicked and vileness of men’s hearts that nailed Him on that cross.  Yet, on that cross the atonement for sins was given through the precious, sinless, blood of the Lamb of God.

As Simeon was faithful to carry on the work of the Lord in his life we too are called to be faithful unto the coming of our Lord for His Bride and later in His glory.

Simeon loved the appearing of our Lord.  The professing Christian who has a larger desire to make more money, acquire more things, see more family, etc, than desiring the return of the Lord should be looking at their hearts true condition.  One evidence of the true Christian experience is expectation of our Lord’s return.

Have a heart like the “Wise men” who seek Him, and worship Him; like the shepherds who saw and heard the call and worshipped Him; and a heart like that of Anna who continued in fasting and prayer night and day until that day she could bless Jesus, and be a blessing; and finally have a heart like Simeon who long awaited the coming of the King of the Jews, their Messiah, Deliverer, and Savior.  Our Lord Jesus is coming returning soon for the Church; and later in all His glory, and the whole world will see Him.

Call on His name for salvation, before it is forever too late.

-Tim A. Blankenship