The Virtuous Woman

“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 31:12-22 (KJB)

The Fountain Of Youth

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?”   Proverbs 5:18-20  (KJB)

Jesus on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Luke 16:18 (KJB)

Most Christians know the words of Jesus on marriage, divorce, and remarriage, so I am not going to spend a lot of time explaining or demolishing what He said. We Christians of the United States of America have done that quite well.

I would like to remind you though, that John the Baptist went to prison for confronting the wicked Herod for marrying his brother Philip’s wife (Matthew 14:3-6; Luke 3:19). He eventually was beheaded because the adulterous wife called for it. Who am I, or who are we to question the word of Jesus concerning marriage?

Let me end this thought, and the truth of Jesus with the verse previous to this one –

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17

Just a Thought from December 30, 2008

There are many questions, and at times many accusations, and arguments over the issue of marriage.  Biblically, marriage is between one man, and one woman “until death do we part”.  The issue of same sex or homosexual marriage is playing a large part in that definition today.

As a Christian I take the Biblical view of marriage, and will until the Lord returns to take me home with Him.  A question comes to my mind, however, “Why has marriage been so cheapened, so degraded?”, and I must answer that with this.

The divorce rate is around 50 percent.  That sounds awful to me.  Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce.  Is that what is meant by that statistic?  If so, that is truly terrible, and a shame to be attached to something that God has ordained.

There is something that makes the matter even worse to me, and that is the divorce rate among those who profess to be “Christian”.  It is at the same rate, and maybe even higher.  It seems that many Christians have bought into the “Me” lie.  They may not admit it, but live as though their living life is all about “Me”, and there is no surrender, no commitment, no loyalty to the spouse (husband or wife).

Let me ask this question, “Who has really cheapened marriage; those who have no commitment, or the issue of same sex marriage?”  I dare say that had we Christians stood firm on faithful marriages, and committed ourselves to our own wife or husband, then there would not be the issue and debate of same sex marriage.

Here is the Biblical idea for marriage.  “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22); and “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:25).  When these are followed there will be happiness in the marriage, along with joy and peace.

Just my thoughts for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unequal Yokes

Yokes are a farming tool from years past where the farmer or wagoneer even would place two animals; for a yoke it would most generally have been oxen.  The cart, wagon, or plow was usually teamed with an equally powered pair of the animal.  Consider this as we look at the following passage of Scripture.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)

The apostle Paul was writing to Christians in the city of Corinth.  Professing Christians were joining together with non-believers, and were having complications due to their inabilities to get along, and do what was right.

We are living in an era of time where many Christians are saying things and doing things that align themselves more with the lost world – the unbelievers – and pulling away from God, and His word.  In order to get along with the world that is usually what happens.  It is the same as thinking you can take a clean bucket of water, and a bucket of mud, then thinking you can pour that water into the mud and make it come out clean.  That cannot happen.  What you end up with is muddy water.

We are dealing with Christian life and living.  When it comes to building a business and teaming up with someone to enter enterprise all parties should have the same moral standards, and like heart for what they do.  In marriage, the man and woman entering that lifetime commitment to one another should have a like passion and love for Christ; realizing Jesus Christ is central to their individual, and couple’s life together.  There are going to be enough difficulties in partnerships in business, and in marriages without adding the spiritual aspect to the situation.

If we will follow the Lord’s direction spoken through the apostle, then there will be fewer problems, and more love and peace.

When you team an ox with a donkey you will have problems.  The ox will be more consistent in pulling while the donkey may not be as reliable, and balk more often.

God has told us, “Come out from among them (the unbelievers), and be ye separate.”  He has also said, “Touch not the unclean thing.”  We are all unclean until we come to Christ.  If you are outside of Christ, then come to Him today.

Catch the Foxes Which Hinder a Good Marriage

Catch the Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:1-17,

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  Song of Songs 2:15 (KJV) Also see John 10:10

With there being deceptions and lies concerning marriage and love in our society and culture it is needful, even necessary for the Church of Jesus Christ, and every individual Christian to stand firm on God’s definition of Marriage, and His meaning of love.

It is my conviction that the Home and Marriage is the beginning or the end of a Nation or a society of people.  When marriages fail so will society and nations.  “As goes the home/marriage; so goes the nation.”

There are hindrances to a good marriage.  These can be the children, and the job, or career, school activities, failure to build your marriage and home upon the foundation of Christ and His word.

So what can be done to keep a marriage strong.  Let us look at four ideas from Solomon’s Song of Songs;

  1.   Be sure; even make it a habit to praise, and adore and admire one another verbally (vv. 1-3).
  2.   Be sure to make yourself accountable to one another, and to another; who is not of the opposite sex; so as to maintain a holy lifestyle (vv. 4-7).
  3.   Be sure to make time for one another… Have some alone time.. Go to the “clefts of the rock” and get away together (vv. 8-14)
  4.   Be sure that within marriage you have a sense of belonging… “I am my beloveds, and he is mine”
  5.   This is an addition to the original post… Make God the primary Person of your marriage.

You are not your own.  You are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ must be the bedrock of your marriage and home.

I was running short on time this morning so I wanted to share this with you.

Wisdom Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Sixty and Four

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
Draw me away!” Song of Solomon 1:2 (NKJV)

Believing that the Song of Solomon is written to show a king’s love for His spouse before their marriage, and following the ceremony, and that Marriage is a portrait in type of God in Christ’s love for His Bride the Church…

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my Marriage, and my love for my wife Madge, to reflect the love of God in Christ to all people; and for people to know there is no better or greater love than the love the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit displayed on the cross of Calvary for all mankind.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Eighty and Four

It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32 (KJV)

Today marks our halfway point to Christmas in this year – halfway since last Christmas (December 25). It is the last day of the first half. Just a note.

Marriage is an institution of God.  He ordained that a man marry a woman, and cleave to her the entirety of his and her life.  There are many words in our dictionaries and our vocabulary’s that are being voided by the PC people, and that we are being asked not to use.  I have one I would like deleted; especially between a married man and woman; and that is the word D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want marriage, between one man and one woman to be sacred again; for the man and the woman to take their vows seriously; for the man to train his heart and his eyes to desire only his wife, and no other, to be faithful to her, to cherish her, and value her even more than his own life; and that the word “Divorce” never be uttered between them of themselves.

Day Two Hundred Sixty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my friends, and sister’s in law parents; Denny and Linda Ball to have a wonderful day celebrating their fiftieth Wedding Anniversary; On this day in 1966 Denny and Linda were united in marriage.

May the Lord give them many more years together.

And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV)

Day Three Hundred Thirty and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I want Christians in Christian marriages, and families to know that the devil is working hard to destroy the Christian home, and that we must be ever vigilant in standing with Christ Jesus and in His Word;  “the devil like a roaring lion is walking about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8);  Christian stand your ground, stand firm in the Word; and remember that “…the weapons or our warfare are not carnal (flesh), but mighty through God…”  Be strong Christian.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)

Words for Christian Living – Better than Burning

“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”  1 Corinthians 7:1-9   (KJV)

In a day when marriage has been weakened and mocked Christians must learn to love as Christ loved, cherish one another; and enjoy one another in Biblical marriage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 3:1)

No Love Like God’s Love 1

“Then said the LORD unto me, ‘Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.'” Hosea 3:1 (KJV)

The LORD again speaks to Hosea concerning his wife.

Hosea received command from God.  “Hosea, love your wife again.”  She is still in an unlovable state, yet God says, “Love her again”.  He was obedient in putting her away.  He was obedient in the naming of his children, and seeing God at work in his family situation.  Would he obey in this as well?  He would.  He would follow wherever the LORD led.

Notice who God tells Hosea to love.  Another woman?  N0!  The same Gomer who was entangled, and involved in temple prostitution, adultery against God and her husband.  When is he to love her?

  1. While she still has other lovers;
  2. While she is still practicing her lewd ways.

Why is he to love her?  He is to love Gomer to illustrate God’s love for unfaithful Israel.

God may withdraw His hand of grace, His protecting hedge about His people; for awhile, but it is always redemptive in purpose.  He never forsakes His people.  He loves His people and always knows what is beneficial for us.

“Woman loved by a lover” is equivalent to “Who look to other gods”, since Gomer represents Israel and Hosea – God.  “Is committing adultery” is equivalent with “Love the raisin cakes [flagons of wine KJV] of pagans”.  “The expression ‘And love raisin cakes’ describes the reason for their apostasy.  ‘Loving raisin cakes’ is equivalent to loving sexual sin.  ‘Raisin cakes’ were dried raisins pressed together for sweetmeat.  Participants in the licentious Baal rites ate ‘Raisin cakes’.  These delicacies symbolized to them the sweetness of their participation in the Baal fertility rites to satisfy their lusts, and to increase productivity throughout the land in every area of life.  Such sin may indeed be sweet for a season like ‘Raisin cakes’ in the mouth, but it turns within the stomach ‘to the venom of cobras (See Job 20:14).”  From the Study Book by John Traylor.

The “Raisin cakes” imply enjoyment of their lewd practices; and their neglect, and rejection for hearing the words of the LORD.  Sin can indeed be enjoyed, but only for a short period, and it pays “Loan shark” interest rates.

Like has been said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; Sin will leave you longer than you want to stay;  Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.”  But you will pay.  By the love and grace of God our sin debt was paid by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, He was buried and He rose again.  He is alive.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of GOD

Hosea’s Call, Circumstances, and Marriage

Several years ago I did a study of Hosea.  I spent a few days in the church I pastored teaching in special services for that purpose; and I was also invited by my home church to come for a week of services to teach the book of Hosea.  It was the year that our Convention – the Southern Baptist Convention – had Hosea as the Winter Bible Study.  This was a study i thoroughly enjoyed, was encouraged by, and prayerfully have grown through; and more since that time.

We will be in this study for some time.  I will endeavor to keep the studies readable and short.  I pray God’s richest blessing on you, as you read and hear the word of the LORD.

“Hosea was the second of God’s spokesmen known as eighth-century prophets.”  Amos was the first, and he and Hosea were contemporaries, both preaching in the Northern kingdom also know as Israel, or Ephraim.  Isaiah and Micah preached to the Southern kingdom, usually called Judah, during this same century.

There are two main divisions to the book: 1) Hosea’s marriage, and 2) Hosea’s message.  There are four prominent themes:  1.)  God’s love,  2.)  the sin of God’s people,  3.)  God’s judgment, and  4.) hope.

“Hosea 1-3:5 emphasizes God’s faithful love in spite of the people’s unfaithfulness to Him.  Hosea 4 – 7:16 shows God’s indictment of the sins of unfaithful Israel.  Hosea 8 – 10:15 stresses the sure judgment that awaited Israel because of their stubborn refusal to repent.  Hosea 11 – 14:9 presents the hope that God’s healing love will eventually lead some to repentance and renewal.”  From the WINTER BIBLE STUDY for this study.

Let us begin by reading chapter 1 verse 1,

“The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.” Hosea 1:1 (KJV)

If you will note the kings of the kingdom of the South – Judah; Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  Three of these kings “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD”; one did not – that was Ahaz (2 Kings 15:30-34; 16:1-4; 18:1-3).  Joash, fit in with Ahaz.  For those who might think leadership in the nation does not have anything to do with morality, or blessing beware.

Sometimes hearing the Word of the LORD is through our circumstances.  The spiritual and moral attitude of Israel was one of not only spiritual adultery against God, but adultery of the flesh as well.  Because of this it might have been quite difficult for a man to find a woman who was morally and physically pure.  Does that sound relevant to our times?  Through these circumstances of life Hosea heard the Word of God.

“The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, ‘Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.  So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.”  Hosea 1:2-3 (KJV)

The Northern kingdom was a kingdom which had departed from the LORD from their inception (1 Kings 12:16-33).  If you were to study the kings of the Northern kingdom there is not one king of whom the Scripture says “Did right in the eyes of the LORD”, not one.

Remember, also, the moral circumstances of the land in that day.  There was much idolatry; all connected to Baal worship.  There was temple prostitution, used in “worship” of Baal, pleasure oriented god who was made after the image of man.  The  prostitution was both male and female; or heterosexual and homosexual abomination.  The people of the era believed these adulterous practices would bring s harvest of bounty, the rains would be plentiful.  Many a young woman and many a young man was convinced that to present themselves as a prostitute for Baal was her duty and an honor.  Many a married – betrothed woman would go to Baal’s temple and engage in this behavior believing that to do so would make her womb fruitful and bear many sons.

Hosea loved a woman named Gomer who – possibly after the wedding –  began these pagan rites of worship.  God definitely used this  in speaking to Hosea.  Hosea learned in this the pain, the heart break of God in Israel’s departure from Him.

“And the LORD said unto him, ‘Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.  And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”  verses 4-5 (KJV)

As a result of this marriage there was a son born to Hosea and Gomer.  God told Hosea to name him Jezreel.  Jezreel means “God sows”.  In this case God is saying that He is going to sow judgment.  Jezreel is a city approximately 55 miles North of Jerusalem.  It is in an area known as the “Plain of Jezreel [Megiddo]”.  A place where much blood has been shed, and much will yet be shed in that plain (See Revelation 19:11-21).

At this time the house of Jehu will be judged, because of their father’s sin (See 2 Kings 10:29-31).  It seems that Hosea has no doubt about Jezreel being his son.

And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, ‘Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.  But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.’
Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.  Then said God, ‘Call his name Loammi: for ye are not My people, and I will not be your God.'” verses 6-9 (KJV)

The next child that was born was a daughter.  Lo Ruhamah means “No mercy”.  Do you suppose Hosea may have began to realize that his wife was unfaithful at this time.

Then Gomer had a third child, and God called him Lo Ammi meaning “Not My people”.  Was Hosea coming to understand the heart of God?  His heart- ache, pain, and anger with adulterous affairs, with worldliness among His people?

“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ‘Ye are not My people,’ there it shall be said unto them, ‘Ye are the sons of the living God.’  Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” verses 10-11 (KJV)

Speaking through the circumstances of Hosea’s day God has spoken words of judgment and rejection.  However, we see in these last verses of the chapter that there is hope.

In these verses God promises that He is not through with Israel.  This is truly a hope and promise of THE REDEEMING LOVE OF GOD.

What does God promise?

  1. They shall be “accountable – without number” (v. 10);
  2. …Those “Not My people” declared to be “Sons of the living God” (v. 10);
  3. …There shal be a gathering of Judah and Israel (v. 11);
  4. …They shall have one head – “The root of David” (v. 11; Jeremiah 30:8-9);
  5. …They are told to refer to one another as “brother” and “sister” (2:1).

We will look at number five further in the next study.

When we look at Israel, the Northern kingdom, God’s promises to them; then we can know and rest in the assurance of God’s promises that His Word is being fulfilled; even today.  The whole law and the prophets is revealed fully in the person of Jesus Christ.  He suffered the agony, suffering, rejection of death, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave; justifying all who will believe Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – One through Eleven

THE FINAL WEEK OF JESUS’ LIFE IS BEGINNING, AND HE COMES TO JERUSALEM, TO PRESENT HIMSELF AS A SERVANT OFFERING FOR SIN.

“1And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. 8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. 11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.”  Mark 11:1-11 (KJV)

This event is often called the “Triumphal Entry”, but it seems more appropriate to call it a “Servants entry”.  Of course, this is the event that leads to His death, burial and resurrection, and this is exactly what He is doing.  He is not coming into the city as a conquering King, but as a lowly servant.

He is riding a borrowed donkey, not a gallant steed.  The donkey is known as a surefooted, strong, burden carrier, but certainly not an animal for war or for conquering anything.

This is actually a first for Jesus.  He has previously been only with His disciples, and occasional crowds wanting to see His mighty works and miracles.  He has not ran seeking the attention of others, but now He is coming presenting Himself as a lowly, suffering servant.  For the week that is ahead the people will need to make their final dicision as to who Jesus is.  Is He the promised Messiah, or is He a fraud who is faking it all?

Jesus sends two of His disciples to find a donkey colt tied just as Jesus said it would be.  The events happen just as Jesus told them it would.  They begin untying, and someone asked them what they were doing and they told them what the Lord said to say.  Everything was fine with them then.

One of the things we can see from this text is that Jesus never owned anything in this world.  He said He had no place to lay His head.  Any time He was sleeping it was a borrowed place.  To preach to people along the shore of the Sea of Galilee He borrowed a boat.  He died and was buried in a borrowed tomb.  Jesus had no earthly wealth.  Who are we to castigate, ridicule, and despise the poor, when Jesus was poor when He walked among us.

As Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem the people began to pay homage to Him as He rode on this unbroken donkey.  They lay their garments in His path, they cut palm leaves and lay  in the path, and they were singing.  What were they singing?  “Hosanna!Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  They worship and praise Him now, but in a few days, some of these same people will be crying out, “Crucify Him, crucify Him”.

The people as they sing praise to Jesus are singing Psalms 118:26.  How is it that a multitude of people can praise Him one day and just a few days later, many are willing to “Crucify Him” just because their religious leaders lead it.  It was ordained by God that Jesus die for the sins of mankind, that He be buried – carrying our sins away; never to be seen again;  and the He rise again from death for our justification.  It was the ugliness of man’s sin that caused Him to be their; it was His love that kept Him there; and it was God in His wrath toward sin that struck Him, taking His life, turning His back on His own Son.  It was Joseph of Arimethea who loaned Jesus a tomb in which to be buried, and it was the power of God that raised Him to life again, coming out of the tomb after three days.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – One Through Twelve

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE QUESTION AS A TRAP FOR JESUS.

“1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”  Mark 10:1-12 (KJV)

This question and answer is a very important one for the 21st century and all centuries ahead.  How we view marriage will affect the society and culture we live in.  When God and His Word are honored, obeyed, and heeded then love and respect for others will be prominent in the marriage, home with the children and in governments.

Though this question is put to Jesus to trap Him, it is one Jesus answered, and no other answer is valid, but that of Jesus.  Always looking for a way out, instead of a way to improve, or to make a relationship better; is a cowards way.  The best way is not the easy way, and because something is hard does not make it the wrong way.  Let no one think that God approves of divorce and remarriage.  As a matter of fact He still hates it.

In Matthew’s account (19: 3); the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked the question this way, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”  In asking the question it shows what mentality the Pharisees were of.  It was the belief and practice of that day that a man could “Put away” [divorce] his wife for what ever reason he desired.  If she burnt the toast one morning he could divorce her.  If she looked cross eyed at him he could give her a writing of divorce, and send her hiking out the door of his home.

Here is what the Old Testament says of this,

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.  Deut 24:1-2 (KJV)”.

The idea of this law was to protect the woman from a life of torment, loneliness, and poverty.  Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.” Mark 10:5 .  The “God idea” of marriage was one woman, one man, for a lifetime.   Due to the sin in mankind’s heart God gave provision for divorce.

We must remember that by Old Testament law adultery was punishable by death.  Any man or woman found guilty of adultery was subject to public stoning, unto death.  Who ever, for no  reason other than a “want” of change divorces their spouse  and marries another is guilty of “adultery”.  That is the message Jesus is giving to these Pharisees.  Thus, showing them the fallacies of their beliefs, and teachings that divorce was okay, no matter the reason.  It is important for us in this day to remember what God says in Malachi about divorce;

“Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”  Mal 2:15-16 (KJV)

J. C. Ryle gives us three rules for marriage,

“The first is to marry only in the Lord, and after prayer for God’s approval and blessing. The second is not to expect too much from their partners, and to remember that marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, and not of two angels. The third rule is to strive first and foremost for one another’s sanctification. The more holy married people are, the happier they are. “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it.” (Eph. 5:25, 26.)”

Let us strengthen our nation, our cities, and our churches by strengthening our faith in God, and His Word; and let’s begin at home in our marriages by loving our spouse with the heart of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Just A Thought 01/13/09

One Four Three

A three word sentence.  If you look at this mathematically 1+4+3= 8.  What can this possibly mean.

I want us to see this not as a problem of arithmetic, but an answer to a lot of human ills.  It is amazing what this three word sentence can do to the hearts of many people, and with time, could be a change with all people, one way or another.

Let’s first of all look at that first word “One”.  There is first of all only YOU.  You by yourself, are a unique being.  You were made in the image of our Creator, whether you believe that or not makes no difference from the truth that you are.   There is no other like you, and when you refer to yourself to someone else you say “I”, and that is what the word “One” stands for.  There is only one you, and no more; and you are the “I” in your life.

The second word “Four” refers to another word; a four letter word.  Now there are many four letter words, some of which are not fit to be spoken or written.  In the United States of America there are different kinds of expression of this four letter word of which I refer to.  “Love” is that four letter word.  Another four letter word which is really behind a lot of the word is “Lust” rather than love.  That is often meant in a man’s heart toward a  woman, rather than genuine love.  Lust takes and gives nothing but pain and harm.  Love that is genuine and true seeks the good and well being of others, and of another.

Parents, your children need to hear you tell them “I love you”, and they need to hear their Mom and Dad say to one another, “I love you”, and not only saying it, but expressing it in many ways.  Kindness to one another.  Even when you are angry with one another refrain from name calling, which leads to bitterness, anger, and long time harm through memories; and can and often does go into the next generation, if not corrected quickly.

Love thinks of the well being of others, and not of the “I”.

The final word we see is “YOU”.  When you are speaking to someone else you refer to them as “You”, or by name.  To myself I refer to the reader here as “YOU”.  I pray that this will make an impact on your life, your family, and all the people who come into your life.

Husbands and wives; there may be some reading here who are on the brink of divorce.  Have you forgotten the words “I love you”?  Have you demonstrated that love by kindness, affection, an act that does not involve sex, nor expect it in return?  Genuine love comes by sacrifice; giving yourself, even at great expense, for the well-being of another.  It is possible to save your home, your marriage, the future of your children, and your very own future with those three words, “I LOVE YOU.”

These three words are very difficult to say, and maybe they should be.  They should never be said with an ulterior motive, selfishly, or without thought.  It should mean that we care, that I am here for you, that whatever you need, and it is in the power of my hand to provide it; it is yours.

Loving others genuinely is sometimes difficult, because “I” am sometimes selfish, self-centered, self-seeking, and we, you and I, can see that in small children if we will see it.  See it in them as they play, and suddenly one says, “Mine!”

The greatest good that could take place in our homes, communities, churches, States, and Countries is to begin telling others, “I love you” with a genuine heart, or merely by showing “I love you” with an act of kindness, when we have not been treated so kindly.  And do so without expecting anything in return.  Do it because you genuinely love.

The greatest love ever shown was when “God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  God loves you.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, with His feet above the earth, His head toward heaven and His arms were outstretched as though saying “I love you, come unto Me”.

Because Jesus lives, I LOVE YOU.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Just A Thought 12/30/08

There are many questions, and at times many accusations, and arguments over the issue of marriage.  Biblically, marriage is between one man, and one woman “until death do we part”.  The issue of same sex or homosexual marriage is playing a large part in that definition today.

As a Christian I take the Biblical view of marriage, and will until the Lord returns to take me home with Him.  A question comes to my mind, however, “Why has marriage been so cheapened, so degraded?”, and I must answer that with this.

The divorce rate is around 50 percent.  That sounds awful to me.  Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce.  Is that what is meant by that statistic?  If so, that is truly terrible, and a shame to be attached to something that God has ordained. 

There is something that makes the matter even worse to me, and that is the divorce rate among those who profess to be “Christian”.  It is at the same rate, and maybe even higher.  It seems that many Christians have bought into the “Me” lie.  They may not admit it, but live as though their living life is all about “Me”, and there is no surrender, no commitment, no loyalty to the spouse (husband or wife).

Let me ask this question, “Who has really cheapened marriage; those who have no commitment, or the issue of same sex marriage?”  I dare say that had we Christians stood firm on faithful marriages, and committed ourselves to our own wife or husband, then there would not be the issue and debate of same sex marriage.

Here is the Biblical idea for marriage.  “Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22); and “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her…” (Ephesians 5:25).  When these are followed there will be happiness in the marriage, along with joy and peace.

Just my thoughts for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Honor In Marriage

The following article is one I wrote this morning as a devotion for Wings As Eagles.  It strikes me though as a message that needs to get out as much as possible, so I am posting it here as well.

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.” 1 Thessalonians 4:4-6 (KJV)

Taking control of your own body by the Spirit of God, and keeping yourself pure before God; was the lesson for the previous study.  Some seem to think that we have no control over our “feelings” so we should just let them fly, or let them loose.  Sadly, that is how fights and wars eventually begin.  That is also how many “unwanted” babies are murdered in the womb or born and abused and neglected.

The Christian life is a different life.  When a man, woman, boy or girl meets Jesus Christ and gives their lives to Him; they do not give with the mentality that they can live “However I please”; but with a new heart of, “What can I do that will glorify Jesus?”  The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Whether, therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). 

We look at our present society in the USA, and when 80 percent of USA citizens claim to be Christians; 50 percent of Christian marriages are ending in divorce.  There is something drastically wrong.  We can rant and rave all we want about homosexual unions going to desecrate marriage; it seems to me that we already have by divorcing so easily.  If marriage was sacred to Christians there would be less divorces, and there would not be all this drivel about homosexual marriage.  Before anyone goes balistic with me about this NO! I am not for homosexual marriages.  Let’s not blame them for the loss of sacredness of the marriage union; it has already been lost.  Let’s pray that we can begin healing hurting Christian marriages.  Let’s pray that a Christian husband who has entered an adulterous relationship will have his eyes opened to the sin he is commiting against God and his wife and family; repent of his sin, seek forgiveness from God and his wife and family, and be restored.  Let’s pray that wife who is thinking of leaving her husband and children because of some quack she has met on the internet will repent, confess her sin and seek forgiveness and be restored to her husband and family, and most of all to fellowship with God.

Christian you are not an animal who is not in control of your thoughts, your feelings, or your body.  You have the Spirit of God within you.  If you do not have the Spirit of God in you, showing you, convicting you of what is right and wrong, then you don’t know God, His Son Jesus, and are yet in your sins.  (Read Romans 8:9-11).  The people whose hearts do not know God through Jesus Christ follow their flesh, the desires of their bodies, and condemn themselves.  They are already condemned in their sin (John 3:18).  If you profess Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord and can live in a sinful, shacking up, adulterous, life of fornication, and do it without guilt or remorse, then, you most likely have never truly trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  You are living after your passions and lust, and not after the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Professing Christian men taking another man’s wife.  You thief.  You will pay.  You are taking someone who does not belong to you.  Professing Christian wife; you are sleeping with another woman’s husband.  You thief.  You take someone who does not belong to you.  The writer of Proverbs writes,

“Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.” Proverbs 6:25-35 (KJV)

Likened to a thief, one who steals another’s spouse will pay, and the payment will be tremendous.  Paul writes above,  “That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”  Live to serve and glorify God and His Son Jesus Christ.  The way of the world and the flesh is evil, and is the way of destruction.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Curtain Rods

You may have already read this or heard it somewhere, but I thought it might be good to laugh today.

CURTAIN RODS—- PRICELESS

She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.

 

On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.

 

On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candle-light, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of spring-water.

 

When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells dipped in caviar into the hollow of the curtain rods.

 

She then cleaned up the kitchen and left. When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days.

 

Then slowly, the house began to smell.

 

They tried everything; cleaning, mopping and airing the place out.

 

Vents were checked for dead rodents and carpets were steam cleaned.

 

Air fresheners were hung everywhere.

 

Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked

 

People stopped coming over to visit. Repairmen refused to work in the house.

 

The maid quit.

 

Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move.

 

A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house.

 

Word got out and eventually even the local realtors refused to return their calls.

 

Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.

 

The ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going.

 

He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.

 

Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth, but only if she were to sign the papers that very day.

 

She agreed and within the hour his lawyers delivered the paperwork.

 

A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home…….. .

 

And to spite the ex-wife, they even took the curtain rods!!!!!!

We all need a good laugh occasionally.  God bless you and have a great day in the Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Wonderful Love of God

The Wonderful Love of God

There are far too many times I have heard of people, even Christians, saying; “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament”, or they say; “People of the Old Testament were saved differently than the people of the New Testament time.” My usual response to that is; “That just isn’t so”.

In reading in the book of Genesis we find that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD”. He did not earn his salvation it was by grace (Genesis 6:8). We find again in Genesis, “And he [Abram, ie., Abraham] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). That same phrase is used to assure us that Abraham was not saved by works but by grace in Romans 4:1-4.

In looking in the book of Jeremiah the prophet proclaims the love or our God and Savior:

“They say, ‘if a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; ‘Yet return to Me,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:1 (NKJV).

The prophet likens the people of Israel and Judah to a wife who has committed many adulteries, and abominations against her Husband who is God. According to law, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, it was an unclean act for a man to have his previously divorced, remarried, divorced and to take her back to himself. It was considered a defilement of the promised land. God, though, seeing the uncleanness of His people calls them to repent and return to Him. Despite the fact of their many acts of treachery, adultery and spiritual adultery, their murder of small children and elderly people; God says, “I still love you. Return to Me.’

That is the grace of God displayed in the Old Testament. Saved and restored by God’s amazing and wonderful love and grace.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Most Precious Institution

A PRECIOUS UNION

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:27-28 and 31-32.

“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9.

We have been looking at THE LAW OF GOD AND THE MODERN MAN. We have come through six of the commandments of God four of which deal with our relationship with God, and the latter six dealing with our relationship to our fellow man. We have come to the seventh commandment which has to do with the husband and wife relationship. It is to be one of fideltiy, ie., being faithful to one’s spouse.

Sadly, this commandment has been broken too many times, even in the point Jesus makes in Matthew chapter five. The look of lust is an act of adultery. What male/man, in all honesty, can say, “I have not looked with lust at any woman”? Only Jesus could say that.

The Seventh Commandment deals with all sexual sins. Premarital sex is adultery against the future spouse and marriage. Extra-marital sex is adultery to the present marriage and the spouse. It is a betrayal of trust and confidence. One of the quickest ways to ruin a marriage is to commit adultery. Somewhere in most wedding vows is the words, “…Prefering no other…” or something similar. It not only breaks the promise you made to your spouse, it also breaks the promise you made to God. It does not matter if you had a church wedding or if you were wed in the courthouse, the promise was made before God. You have a relationship with another and you are guilty. Homosexuality is an abomination. Beastiality is an abomination and gross perversion. These latter two are still in the class of adulterous relationships, breaking God’s laws. There are no degrees of adultery.

The First Institution God Ordained. This first institution is MARRIAGE. This blessed institution is falling by the wayside in our modern society. Our government penalizes married couples by the paying of more taxes in some cases. Elderly couples can receive more Social Security benefits by living together without marrying. This, in essence, is government, our government of the United States; rewarding immoral behavior.

Young couples are living together more and more without marriage. They want to “Test drive” the relationship, similar to test driving a car they want to purchase. This is a relationship not a piece of property. If you test drive a car and buy it there will come a day in a few years, at the most, where you will get rid of that car. If you “Test drive” that relationship, that is what most likely will happen to the relationship too. Why? Because there is need for commitment, and where there is no commitment, there is no power or permanance to the relationship. Either party in the relationship can leave at any time. It is with sadness that I must admit, there are many who enter marriage with this attitude as well. If you are not prepared to spend a lifetime with someone do not marry, but do not make a sham of marriage by living in rebellion to God’s law by cohabitating. There is little to no respect for the institution for marriage, and it seems due to the fact of no respect for God and that which is holy, righteous and good.

Marriage is more than, “Just a sheet of paper…”. It is in fact the bringing together of two – one man and one woman – before God and they two become “One flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). It is in fact a life-time commitment with binding vows that promise one another, and God, that whether “…rich or poor, in sickness or in health, loving no other, until death do we part.” That is more than a sheet of paper; it is a “binding contract” with God, and has serious repercussions if the bond is broken any way other than by death.

Adulterous Relationships Are Harmful. Adultery is against society. It breaks down the morality of a good society. Biblical morality has been completely rejected. Things once considered wrong are right, and what was right is now wrong (Isaiah 5:20). Teenage premarital sex is increasing. Homosexual activity is also a form of adultery, and is aggressively pursuing the right of marriage in our country. Thank God that the State Supreme Court of the State of Washington upheld the law declaring marriage is between a man and a woman (July 26, 2006).

When it comes to nations and people – a society which continues in this adulterous path are “Given up” by God (Rom. 1:24-27). It is against the nation. By a nation’s acceptance and tolerance of adultery – homosexuality and teenage sex it degrades the nation – “Sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). If this degradation continues, there will come a judgment on our nation unlike anything that has ever been seen. “Adultery is treason; the adulterer should be tried as a traitor to his nation”. UNKNOWN.

Adultery is against the race. It is against the human race. It is against every race of man.

Worst of all, adultery is against God. David, the man “After God’s own heart” committed the sin of adultery. He was confronted by the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-14). David confessed he had sinned against God (Ps. 51:1-5). David had lost his joy (Ps. 51:12-13). ADULTERY IS A SIN AGAINST ALMIGHTY GOD.

In order to understand this issue of adultery we need to maybe, ask, What Is Adultery? The Old Testament seems to relegate it to a physical act alone. In the New Testament Jesus (See above verses) equates it to a look, and a thought – the lingering, longing look and thought that is fed (Matthew 5:27-28″. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:13-15). The New Testament is much more powerful and condemning than the Old Testament law. Adultery becomes more than an act, but a look and a thought. The look and the thought is what leads to the actual act. Left to itself this law offers us no hope. We are guilty. We are condemned.

THERE IS FORGIVENESS (John 8:1-11). In the Bible the penalty for adultery is death. The Scripture given previously to the last sentence shows this was what was in the heart and mind of this woman’s accusers. Quick to pick up the stones of accusation, slow to mercy, slow to forgiveness. With this woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus gives her forgiveness.

Notice Jesus’s words, “…Go, and sin no more”. It was not just a blanket forgiveness without responsibility. She had been forgiven, and now her life would reflect the cleansing and forgiveness she had received. Muse on these questions for awhile. Where was the man who was caught in the act with her? What did Jesus write in the dirt on the ground? Why didn’t they throw the stones?

The only one who could have stoned her forgave her instead. THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR THE SIN OF ADULTERY. There is forgiveness for all sin, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, The Seventh Commandment Is Valid Today. Matrimony is still a sacred institution and it is reserved for one man and one woman for a lifetime together, and can only be broken legitimately by death of one or the other. Adultery still affects lives and societies, governments, churches, and families in a detrimental way. God still judges adultery. There is forgiveness for adultery. When we love God, we will truly love our spouse, and loving God and spouse is stronger and more valuable than the law. That is this law written in the heart.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Results of Scheming

Results of Scheming

“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.” Genesis 16:4-6 (KJV)

With the scheming of Sarai, and Abram’s submission to his wife’s direction Abram had now become part of pagan practice concerning marriage. This is the second Bible example of a polygamous marriage. With Lamech (descendent of Cain – chapter 4:19) being the first. It was, however, practiced by the people of the nations. The first mention of polygamy in the Bible is that of the son of Cain, Lamech (Genesis 4:19). It was ordained by God for a man to have one wife, and men have violated that principle, even faithful men.

When Abram had taken Hagar to wife, and she conceived there was disdain in her heart for her mistress. She was now the one who was bearing the child of the patriarch of nations. She was now the one who was seen as the mother of the “promised child”, but it just was not true. The promised child would indeed be the child of Abram and Sarai, not one of the flesh.

There was resentment, and surely bitterness in Sarai’s heart toward Hagar; and it even seems that there was some toward Abram, even though the idea was her own.

It is for good reason that God has ordained that a man be the “husband of one wife”; and not just “One at a time” as some try and say. Even if we did not have the Scriptures giving us the good principles of marriage, common sense tells us that two women with one husband is going to cause problems. Sarai puts the blame of the ordeal on Abram, and Abram tells her to do what she will with Hagar. Whether Sarai lashed her, spoke very harshly to her, or both is not known. All we have is that “Sarai dealt hardly with her”. Hagar, then realizing that she did not have the “upper hand” in this family situation, then, leaves, and probably in a rush.

In most family situations where there is disharmony it is because of human frailty caused by sin and the flesh. Each of us desire to have our way, and not trust the Lord in the situations we face. When there is a godly family where there is disharmony; it is always due to the involvement of breaking godly guidance, advice, and counsel – just stepping outside the will of God. Going beyond the promise; getting ahead of God; trying to rush God into our thinking and timing. These will always end in fighting, because of the fleshly extensions.

What is the answer for stopping frustrating, fighting, situations in families? Follow God’s plan which is for each individual to hear God’s Word, be obedient to His Word; and should you find yourself outside His will; get back in it by confession of your sins and repentance. There may be need for giving forgiveness, and receiving forgiveness from others.

An Enlarged Aorta

You may wonder what a title like that is about, and I will tell you in a moment.  It is great to hear of someone who has a “Big heart”, and by that is usually meant that they are generous, caring, never seeking for themselves.  That can be said of many people.  The last thing, though, than any of us want to hear is that a loved one has a sickness, disease which is or could be fatal.

My wife [Madge] has just been diagnosed to have an anuerism (not sure of the spelling there) of the aorta.  From all that I understand about it it is quite serious.  I know that it is to us at this point. 

To the readers of Fire and Hammer I wanted to ask those of you who are followers of Jesus Christ to pray for her healing.  I am however, praying for His glorious will, whatever that may be. 

My wife and I have been married for 34 and one half years, and I have grown in love with her more through each year of our lives.  It can be frightening to feel that the life of one you love is hanging by a thread.  There is peace in knowing that our lives are in God’s Almighty, life giving hands, and that no one of us knows the day or timing of our death.  Life and death are in His hands.  I am thankful for the days my wife and I have together, and am looking forward to many more.

Please pray for us.  Thank you for doing so.

May God bless you all.

T.A.