2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I thank God for all who have visited this blog.  To think this is visited by people from 93 countries.  My prayer is that all who visit here know my Lord and  Saviour Jesus Christ.

Councils, Sparrows and Enemies

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.  And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, ‘Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.’  The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?  Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.  What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing, and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.  Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.  He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”  Matthew 10:16-39 (KJV)

Notice the three “Fear nots” in the text above.  The word also of Whom we are to fear.

-T.A.

Day 1 – Genesis 1 – 14

The first day of reading through the Bible in ninety days is here.  I have completed the first 14 chapters.  As I told you in the last post I will be reading the Bible in the New Living Translation, which I realize is a weak “translation”, but it has an ease of reading which the KJV does not have, thus and can read without too much distraction by trying to decipher the days, months and years; lengths, weights  and such.

I did discover in my reading of the first fourteen chapters that there is much with the NLT which I have problems with in interpretation, but as I wrote of one of those problems in my journal, it could be a matter of perspective.

That problem was the NLT’s interpretation of Genesis 10:25,

“Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg—“division”—for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups and dispersed. His brother’s name was Joktan.”  Genesis 10:25 (NLT)

Now the KJV,

“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” Genesis 10:25 (KJV)

The problem I have with the NLT here is that it provides and interpretation that is not present in the text.  The word “earth” in the KJV is “eh’-rets” in Hebrew and can mean various things,

“From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land): –  X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.”  From Strongs Concordance — e-Sword.

The people had been divided by the change difference in languages, and there could have been a massive moving of the planet earth as well; not only causing a dividing of languages, but also of the land.  That is my thought on the matter.

We find in the reading of Genesis 1 – 14 that God is the Creator; that He created the earth and all things upon it in a seven day period.  On the sixth day having already prepared things for the crowning of creation He creates humanity, beginning with Adam, then his wife Eve.  Things were without problem in the garden God had prepared for them.  He even spent time with them in that garden, at least at one point He came to visit them, and found them hiding from Him.

Here we find the answer for all the ills and problems in our world today.  Why is there killing, sickness, disease, hardships of all sorts?  It comes down to this point that the first man and woman did not listen to God, nor obey His commandment.  That one commandment was,

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'” Genesis 2:16-17

Following their sin of disobedience, God comes to them, finds them hiding from Him and God drives them from paradise; places a guardian at the gate of Eden preventing their way to eternal life at the Tree of Life, and they begin to die.  Adam Eve have two sons Cain and Abel.  Rebellion sets in Cain’s heart even to the point of killing his brother.  God curses Cain.

Adam and Eve have other children.  We find the godly lineage in chapter 5; however there is much evil on the earth, and God destroys the earth and every land going animal; except for those He has chosen to save through the only justified man living.  “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (6:8).  The flood comes.  Noah, his wife, their sons, and their sons wives are in the ark of redemption with the chosen animals – 7 of each clean animal; 2 of each unclean.  My how God is full of grace and mercy.

From paradise to death to hope through Abram and a new land.  A new people, nation, a Promised Redeemer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Morning Devotion from C. H. Spurgeon

I read the morning devotion for June 10 by Charles Spurgeon this morning, and it touched my heart.  I want to share with the few who come here.

Romans 14:8
We live unto the Lord.

If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven, and to be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, though he has but just believed in Jesus. It is true that our sanctification is a long and continued process, and we shall not be perfected till we lay aside our bodies and enter within the veil; but nevertheless, had the Lord so willed it, He might have changed us from imperfection to perfection, and have taken us to heaven at once. Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on the battle-field when one charge might give them the victory? Why are His children still wandering hither and thither through a maze, when a solitary word from His lips would bring them into the centre of their hopes in heaven? The answer is-they are here that they may “live unto the Lord,” and may bring others to know His love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as heralds publishing salvation. We are here as the “salt of the earth,” to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, and as “workers together with Him.” Let us see that our life answereth its end. Let us live earnest, useful, holy lives, to “the praise of the glory of His grace.” Meanwhile we long to be with Him, and daily sing-

“My heart is with Him on His throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
‘Rise up, and come away.'”

I pray the Lord uses this to draw you nearer to Him.

T.A.

The LORD… My Shepherd

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalms 23:1-6 (KJV)

There is safety, security, and strength in the Lord.  Put your faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave;  today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Where Does Chocolate Milk Come From???

I thought the readers of Fire and Hammer might find this interesting.  I wrote the article over at Life on the Farm.

I was looking through the magazine published by the Missouri Farm Bureau, and found something that I found humorous and in my thinking almost unimaginable.

There is an imbedded article on page 26 of the July/August 2008 issue of SHOW ME Missouri Farm Bureau which asked the above title question.  Who Makes Chocolate Milk?  There is a picture in the corner which has three different colored cows – all considered to be milk production cows – a Jersey, Gernsey, and a Holstien; along with a Brahma bull, and then two small boys.

They presented this or a similar picture to “8000 elementary students at a Farm Fest in a large city” and asked the students to select from “a solid brown cow, a black and white cow, a brown and white cow, a cream colored Brahma bull, a boy, and a girl holding a chocolate milk carton”.

Out of these 8000 elementary students only one child selected a human as the correct answer to the question.  This just seems obvious to a country boy, but it is a real problem to know that many children do not realize where food comes from.  To think that children could think that a cow produces chocolate milk is beyond me, but I do understand the plight of knowledge concerning farming, and the farmer.

Cows produce white milk.  There are no chocolate milk producing cows.  Chocolate comes from a tree and its fruit called cacao, and is from the tropics.  That is where our chocolate comes from.

Understand, I do not mean to lay blame on these children.  There may be some adults, the parents of these children even, who don’t know that cows don’t produce chocolate milk, or even where milk comes from.  There is nothing wrong with being ignorant of some things, which I am, but, it is foolish to remain ignorant.  I pray these 8000 students learned much on this day of the Farm Fest.

God is the giver of all good things; and some things not.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Good Blogs to Read

It has been some time since I have put any recommendations for blogs to read. I still commend those who I have read from the beginning, such as Heavenly Heartburn, Hungry for Holiness, Byway Blessings. Those are still wonderful reading, but there are some new ones I enjoy.

I am only placing these in a somewhat random order so I am placing no order of preference. I recommend these by also saying that I do not always agree with what they write, but appreciate many things that they do. The first one I want to tell you of is Trinitarian Don a blog by Don McConnell, dean of Trinity University’s Law School in California. Then, there is Devine Theology by Dr. Mark Devine currently Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary near Kansas City, MO.. Another one along the line of Theology is The Baptist, and you will enjoy his perspective on Baptists and Southern Baptists in particular. I also discovered this one and I am not sure of this man’s full name, but I do enjoy his articles. It is called, The Shepherd’s Staff. I will end these recommendations with one by a fellow Missouri Baptist Blogger; and that is Shepherd’s Walk by David Krueger.

My prayer is that these will all be a blessing to you in your reading.

Trout Day in Cassville, MO

This post is varying away from my regular post for Fire and Hammer, but there was something I wanted to comment about.

As some of you know who come and read the articles here, I drive a School Bus for the Cassville, Missouri School District.  Well this is one of those holidays off.  Nothing gets in the way of this day off.  You could be twenty days behind in school due to heavy snow and any kind of bad weather, but this day is still guaranteed out.  It will never be used as a “Make up day”. 

Now, lest someone gets the wrong idea.  I have no problem with this.  I enjoy the day off, but it is amazing that a fish can gather so much attention.  On this day annually, thousands of people gather down at Roaring River State Park to catch thousands of Rainbow Trout.  I enjoy fishing once in awhile, but when I fish, I do not want to be rubbing elbows, shoulders, arms, and backsides with a bunch of other people. 

When they gather at Roaring River on the first day of March each year, and they stand on the banks waiting for the starting siren or gun, it is almost hillarious.  The rods and reels are swung backwards, brought forwards, the sound of the line spinning off the reel goes out into the water with the artificial bate (at least it is supposed to be), hits the water, then, the Rainbow’s are tempted with the jerking motions of the bait, and many bite, get reeled in and then, on to someone’s plate.  That sounds pretty good. 

That line sometimes, even many times goes out, in such a crowd and tangles with the fellow next to you, or with someone on the other side.  I find things like that aggravating.  There is one thing I know and that is, if you do it you must enjoy it.  My advice to those who are looking for something to do on March first, and your in the Cassville, Missouri area.  If you want to fish and be nearly alone go to Table Rock Lake, just a few miles from Roaring River State Park.  If you want to catch trout and be shoulder to shoulder, back to back with other people, then go to Roaring River State Park.

If you are into  hiking, the Park has several trails to walk, and they are  beautiful and sometimes difficult walks.

What I am Reading

Many years ago God gave me the discipline to read His Word, and that is the first book I pick up when I get up of the morning, with a couple of notebooks with it.  I will not bore anyone with that.

A year ago this past Christmas I received as gifts 2 novels.  One was by John Grisham titled THE BROKER.  It sat on my bookshelf for over a year.  The other book I received was one by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins title THE REGIME.  On Christmas day of 2006 I received another novel by Frank E. Perreti titled THE HOUSE.

After January first of this year (2007) I picked up THE HOUSE and began reading it.  I finished it the first week I started – I am not a speedy reader, but rather slow.  When I finished with it I began reading THE BROKER, and after a couple of weeks of reading finished it.  Understand when I read I do not go straight through.  I have other things to do.  I have not yet read THE REGIME because it is the second book in a series, and I do not like getting in the middle of a story.  Now, I will need to find the other two, or so.

I am currently reading, and about to finish a book by John Piper titled, THE PLEASURES OF GOD, and man, am I enjoying it.  It is amazing how big, wonderful and full of grace God is, and John Piper does a marvelous work in bringing out much of it.  Who knows where it would all end.  I have also read, DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE by Piper, and it was really an encouraging book.  When I am finished with THE PLEASURES OF GOD I am going to begin in Piper’s book called FUTURE GRACE.

I enjoy reading a good novel from time to time.  They kind of break the routine, and get me out of a rut, which I can get into so easily at times.  All the books I mentioned are good reading.  I would not recommend any of John Grisham’s books for children, though.