The Power and Weakness of the Mind

The Power and Weakness of the Mind – Proverbs 20:1-30

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.  The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.  It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. Proverbs 20:1-3 (KJB)

Verses 1 – 5 –  Wine, any beverage alcohol will affect the thinking and actions of any who allow it to.  Those who would allow it to are not wise affecting their relationship to leaders (v. 27).
It will also affect them in matters of strife, and work plans (vv. 3-4).
It will take a clear mind – understanding – to bring out wise counsel in one’s inner being.

Verses 6 – 11 –  In many cases it is also true that beverage alcohol will give a man or woman an higher opinion of themselves; high thoughts of themselves that they do not normally have.
There is an arrogance in humankind which causes most of us to exalt ourselves anyway.
Faithfulness, integrity is a rare find.  It would be especially rare among those who stimulate their minds with drugs, or other stimulants.
Those who walk in their integrity will have a good example for their children to follow.
The king whose mind is not messed up by booze or other drugs will have good judgment and scatter away evil with just his “eyes”  (vv. 26; 25:5;  Revelation 1:14)  “Winnows all evil” (ESV)
It is an evil mind who misuses measures to gain mammon for themselves without considering their neighbor (v. 23).  We all also know children by their behavior; whether it is pure and right.

Verses 12 – 17 –  While verse twelve seems to stand alone by telling us who made the ear and the eye verses 13 – 17 deal with wealth.  The ear allows us to hear and learn.  The eye allows us to see, learn, and enjoy what we see.
One who loves sleep will never be wealthy; nor will they ever be a happy, satisfied individual (v. 13).
In order to get something at a lower price the buyer will make little of an article they desire; then after the purchase build up the item, and make much of the value, and his/her cheap purchase (v. 14).
There is value in rubies; there is “Precious” value in the “Lips of knowledge” (v. 15).
The use of collateral was a part of early systems of finance; even one’s garment.  Receiving collateral is good advice if one secures a debt for another; especially if the other person is an immoral individual (v. 16).
Deceit may be “sweet” at the beginning but in the end it will be like “gravel” (v. 17).

Verse 18 –  Good planning comes by wise counsel.  The wise individual will seek counsel in matters of person, state, or nation.

Verse 19 –  The gossip or “talebearer” will be sure to tell one thing and another.  What someone says to you about someone else he/she will probably tell someone else of you.

Verse 20 –  For a child to curse parents is a sure warning of darkness in that life.

Verse 21 – This verse could be also pointing to any wealth gotten quickly; such as lotteries, gambling, or thefts.  Since it was not worked for it has little meaning.

Verse 22 –  Recompense belongs to the LORD.  It is of great benefit to the child of God to wait for His “vengeance”.  See Romans 12:19 and Deuteronomy 32:35

Verse 24 –  Though a man or woman is led by the LORD we may not know our path ahead.  We walk by faith, not by sight.

Verse 25 –  Be careful when vowing something to God.

Verse 28 –  Mercy and truth are good and godly qualities of a great king or a great leader.

Verse 29 –  Strength is the blessing of the young; while wisdom grows in the aging of mankind.

Verse 30 –  Probably referring to discipline, punishment in some cases.  The right use of corporal discipline/punishment will deter much evil behavior.  See Proverbs 10:13.

All of these ways of life have to do with the power and/or weakness of the mind.  The mind that is in the “Mind of Christ” will prosper in righteousness.

 

The Grace of Suffering

“Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.  But the end of all things is at hand: you be therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God rest upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.  Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  For the time that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if first at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Therefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.  1 Peter 4:1-19

REFERENCES: 2:20; 3:19; Ezekiel 9:6; 44:6; Acts 10:42; 17:30; Romans 12:13; 14:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 5:11; 24:13, 45; Proverbs 10:12; 1 Corinthians 3:13; James 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Isaiah 10:12;

The Treasure of Giving

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And He called His disciples, and saith unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, all her living.’” Mark 12:41-44  (KJB)

Jesus was watching people give into the container where the offering for the temple was received.  Many of the wealthier ones gave out of their abundance; this poor widow gave all that she had.

Who gave the most?  The poor widow did.

Several years ago a couple of billionaires of the U. S. of A. announced that they were going to give half of their wealth to aid the poor.  That was noble thing to do.  Both of their worth was around or over 50 billion dollars apiece. If they were giving half of that would they not still have 25 billion.  Such sacrifice.  Smile.

The widow gave all she had.  It is said, that our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and so it is.  One of our greatest treasures is giving.  Giving from a willing heart.  Giving; not from what we do not have, but from what we have; with that willing heart.  That in itself is a treasure.

Our Lord Himself gave His best, His all to redeem us from our sins. He died on the cross.

The Rejected Cornerstone

‘Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, ‘They will reverence my son.’ But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.’ And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

They say unto Him, ‘He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.’
Jesus saith unto them, ‘Did ye never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?’ Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.’
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitude, because they took Him for a prophet.” Matthew 21:33-46  (KJB)

Jesus is that Cornerstone rejected by His own people.  It has been said that in the building with large stones that the cornerstone’s shape and size determines the shape and size of the building.

The religious establishment of Jesus’s day was Judaism but they rejected the Cornerstone, therefore it passed to the Gentiles, the Church; which is the Body of Christ; and He is still building that building.

Yes! Jesus Christ is that Cornerstone on which if you fall you will be broken; but if He falls on you will be ground to powder.

Believe Him.

Christmas Day Ninety and Four

What do I want for Christmas today?

I thank the Lord everyday for His blessings; spiritual, physical and material; and what I want today and from this day forward is the heart and mind of wisdom from Him to enjoy what He has blessed me with for good, right, relationship, fellowship, and benefit to others, and to bless the name of the LORD.

Day Three Hundred and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always recognize and know that the LORD is the owner of all that I possess, and that I am only a steward of the things in my care; that I may be found faithful.

The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1 (NKJV)

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2

Day Three hundred Forty Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want family, friends, and neighbors to prosper and be in good health; even as they prosper in their spiritual lives.

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 2 John 1:2 (NKJV)

The Danger of Preaching the Truth

“Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.” Jeremiah 26:8 (KJV)

Jeremiah was not the only prophet of Judah or Jerusalem. There were others. There were others who were preaching the truth, just not as recognized as Jeremiah. There were also those who were popular with the people and the evil priests who were forsaking God, His word and the temple; but were ignorant of their peril.

These priests and people believed the temple was secure in God, that it would never be destroyed, and that Jerusalem would never fall. They believed that they could live any way they wanted to; going after the gods of the surrounding nations, with pagan temples, temple prostitution, and worship that caused the people to stray from God.

The prophet Jeremiah gave them the word of God, and did not hold back one word (26:2). He did it knowing it would not be popular. He preached because God called him to preach, not because momma called him. He preached because it was a fire in his heart, and he could not keep it back. He preached because he first of all loved God and His Word; secondly because he loved his people, and wanted them to be right with God; and he loved his country, and wanted the country to be delivered from its evil ways.

When a preacher preaches the word of God he will not always be popular. He will not always fill churches, or temples. He will most likely; especially when sin is running rampant around the world will be called a “Nut case”, laughed at, mocked, and even have his life threatened. Like Jeremiah, though, he will be faithful to the LORD and His Word.

Preacher, if God called you; and not your momma; not your career; but God called you, then you have one obligation, and that is to proclaim the Word of God; even if it hurts. Part of that obligation is to live that same word you preach. It can be hazardous. But you do it because of God, and His Son Jesus Christ.

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2

Words for Christian Living – Blessing the Poor

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and Thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: Thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. I said, ‘LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee.'”  Psalm 41:1-4 (KJV)

In the United States of America we are richly blessed.  We are blessed with the grace of God.  We are blessed with riches.  Yet in the midst of the blessing of riches we are cursed with some levels of poverty; and some of which cannot be avoided.  People often find themselves without an income, due to loss of jobs; or sickness, and/or disease; which has robbed them of the strength to make a living.  These are the poor that the Christian must not neglect.

It is the light of Christ Jesus that shines in our hearts that causes us to see others as being better than ourselves; and that includes the poor.  Paul the apostle writing to the people of Philippi…

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  Philippians 2:3 (KJV)

As Christians the love of Christ will reign supremely in our hearts; and others will be blessed by our lives and our conduct:  even though they may not always realize it.  John the apostle wrote the following…

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”  1 John 3:17 (KJV)

Be a blessing today.

Words for Christian Living 061813

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  1 Corinthians 4:1-2  (KJV)

It is the stewardship, and accountability of the leadership of the Church to deliver the message of God’s Word without fear or favor; and it is the stewardship and accountability of the people to listen, hear, and do the Word of God along with the leadership.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Ten – Thirty Two through Fifty Two

“32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. 35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37  They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:32-45 (KJV)

There are at least three things we should note that Jesus taught.  First of all, He taught that he would be delivered over to the spiritual leaders of Jerusalem and be put to death, and then the third day he would rise from the dead.  Secondly, when the disciples were asking to sit on His right and on His left hand in His kingdom, He taught them that they were asking something difficult for them, and that it was not for Him to grant their petition, but would be given to the ones for whom it had been prepared.  Thirdly, Jesus taught that even He had not come to be served by the masses of people, but to serve them and to give His life for the salvation of all who would believe in Him.

It is amazing how easily the idea of servanthood is lost and so quickly among political leaders and sometimes even church leaders.  The idea can get into a persons head that they are in that position because they deserve to be, and every body else is there to serve them.

Jesus would teach the disciples contrary to this when He would wash their feet and dry them with a cloth.  Jesus:  What a Servant – What a Savior.

“46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. 49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. 50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”  Mark 10:46-52 (KJV)

A blind man or any blind individual is one who cannot see.  That is a clear statement that everyone should understand.  There are some who are blind, and do not realize it.  That is, those who cannot see the truths of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ.  There were probably many in the crowd who were following Jesus who did not realize who He was, but were following Him merely because they wanted to see His miracles, or they wanted something from Him.

Here was a blind man who was known as the “son of Timaeous” or “Bar-Timaeus”.  He had been cared for by his parents probably most of his life.  Now his parents have  probably died, and he has to beg to get anything to eat, or for clothing and shelter.  He has heard of Jesus.  He has heard Him called, with contempt, “Jesus of Nazareth”.  He has heard the stories of how Jesus has, caused the lame to walk, healed the lepers, cast out demons, and caused the “dumb” to speak, and the deaf to hear.  He has even heard of Jesus raising the dead to life again.

He has probably only hoped to one day get any where near Jesus and ask him to open his eyes that he might see.  Now, He is passing near to where he is sitting by the roadside begging.  His anticipation is bubbling over.  He is anxious, and can hardly wait.  He calls out to Jesus.  Others try to silence him, and that only makes him call out louder and bolder.  Note, he does not call out the name of contempt – Jesus of Nazareth – rather he cries, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.”  He sees Him for who He is without eyes to see the physical, he sees the spiritual, and recognizes Him as the Messiah who was promised years and years earlier, even before anyone who was present was ever conceived in their mother’s womb.

This man used the term “Jesus, thou Son of David.”  twice.  The first time to call Jesus’ attention to himself, and it seems, the second time, to inform the crowd that Jesus, the Son of David was the only one who could opern his eyes and give him physical sight.

O, what a thrill and honor it is to have Jesus call your name, and say “Come”.  Jesus calls us to come to him.  We were, before we knew Jesus, without sight, and we could not see the things of God.  When Jesus called to us to “Come” and we went, then we received our sight and we saw Jesus as the virgin born Son fo God, without sin, holy, blameless, undefiled, righteous, and worthy of praise.

I just imagine that when Jesus called to Bartimaeus, he would have ran to him as best he could.  He was thrilled to hear the Master’s voice.  He was thrilled to hear that the Master had called to Him.  Even though the theme of Mark is Jesus as a Servant, we see Him performing a great kindness to this man in great need.

When Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted Him to do for him, he said, “That I might receive my sight”.  O, how blind are those who see, and yet, do not see.

Jesus did not touch him, He only told him, “Go thy way, Thy faith hath made thee whole.”  The Scripture tells us, that as he was leaving the eyesight came and he was healed, and he followed Jesus “…In the way”.  Was he only following Jesus as He walked this road?  He was following Jesus, “…In the way”; that is the life of Jesus.  In every way He would follow Jesus.

-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

The Voice Of God

Sometimes the VOICE OF GOD is seemingly difficult to hear; other times not so difficult to hear.  Some just flat out refuse to hear God speak at all.  That is partly because they refuse to believe in Him, thus, not believe Him.

The first place God has given us to hear Him, and know Him is His creation. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1).  The second place (and I am not putting these in any order of importance) is His written Word.  The third place is His Son Jesus Christ.  Then there are the circumstances and situations of life; and the words of wisdom from others – friend, foe, relatives or neighbors or work associates.

The written word of God is the place to put all into check to see if what we hear is from God.  If it does not agree with God’s written Word, then it is not God speaking.

Maybe a couple was dating, talking of marriage, then the relationship goes sour, and one of the couple determines that God is not answering their prayer, because He does not bring them back together.  Maybe that is God rescuing that individual from a life of misery.  I know from personal experience that planning a marriage is not a sure guarantee of a good relationship.  I am thankful to the Lord for destroying a relationship that I was refusing, as a young man, to hear Him.  He worked and gave me a wife who loves and cherishes me; the love between us is stronger now than before.

Listening to God as things “go south” is as important as listening to Him when things are going great.

Hear the Psalmist in the 29th Psalm:

“The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.  The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.  The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.  He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.  The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.  The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.  The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.”  Psalm 29:3-9 (KJV)

God is not silent.  He may not be speaking loudly.  It may just be in a whisper as with Elijah and the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-14).  If you are born again through Jesus Christ you can and do hear His voice.  If you aren’t hearing then you need to hear Him concerning His Son Jesus, and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Chapter Nine

Mark 9:1-50

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. 2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. 10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.”  Mark 9:1-13 (KJV)

THE GLORY OF JESUS IS SEEN BY A FEW WHILE JESUS SPEAKS TO ELIJAH AND MOSES ABOUT HIS DEATH (Luke 9:31).

In verse 1 Jesus is most likely speaking of those who would see His “Transfiguration” which is about to happen, and it happened only before the three disciples – Peter, James, and John.  In Luke’s account of this glory the three disciples had fallen asleep.  There are times to sleep and times to fight going to sleep, and this seems like it was one of those times to fight sleep.  They almost missed it.

The two to whom Jesus was speaking were considered dead and gone.  Moses died and Elijah had just “gone” by the power of a “chariot of fire”.  Moses represents the “Law” of God, and Elijah represents the “Prophets” of God.  It is important for us to catch the message which the “Voice from Heaven” speaks.  “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.”  Those words tell us that the most important thing we can hear is Jesus.  The “Law” and the “Prophets” speak of Jesus.  John the apostle wrote in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (REV. 19:10).

According to Luke 9:31 Jesus was speaking to Moses and Elijah of His coming death.  No other of the gospel writers mention this.  It tells us clearly that was the direction Jesus was headed – to Jerusalem to die, and make atonement for the sin of mankind.

In Matthew and Luke the text tells us it was “Moses and Elijah”.  Mark is the only one who writes “Elijah and Moses”.  It is important for us to remember the history of these two men.  Moses died and was buried by God, and no one knew where he was buried (DEUT. 34:5-6); and Elijah never died.  He was carried to Heaven by a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:11), and Elisha, his pupil in the prophetic ministry, received a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit.  There is quite a picture given here to us.  That is that at the future coming of Jesus Christ in His glory all that know Jesus, the living and the dead, will be raised to share in that eternal glory with Him.

“And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. 15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. 16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? 17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  Mark 9:14-29 (KJV)

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO THEM THAT BELIEVE.

It is apparent by our text that the young man of whom it is speaking was afflicted by an “evil spirit”.  He has been afflicted for several years, even from early childhood.  We can see from this that children are not exempt from evil or even the devil or his demons.  Children can be susceptible to Satan from a very early age, but then, all are born into sin, and none are without sin.

This boy had often been thrown into the fire, and into the waters.  This demon hated this boy, and that is something we all need to remember that the devil and his hordes hates mankind, and will do whatever it takes to destroy the human race.

Notice, Jesus’ rebuke of the “Faithless generation”.  He is probably referring to “scribes” who are there in argument with the disciples, accusing and excusing their own actions and accusing the disciples of not having power to help this boy.

When Jesus calls for the boy and they bring him to Him the boys goes into a “fit”; falling on the ground and foaming at the mouth.  You will notice the father is not only asking Jesus to help his son, but also himself; he says, “Have compassion on us, and help us.”  The father later says, “I believe; help thou mine unbelief”.  This father new to whom to bring his son, but he had not witnessed the power of Jesus before, but he was about to.  He had the faith to bring his son to Jesus, and that was a good starting point.

There are many psychologists who probably would reckon this boy to have epilepsy, or some neurological disorder, but not demon possessed.  Notice though why it must be demon possession;  1) this personality recognized Jesus because he did not want to come before him, thus causing the boy to throw himself on the ground and foam at the mouth;  2) Jesus spoke to the spirit and commanded him to come out, and to stay out;  3) the spirit cried out through the boy and wreaked havoc on him one last time, evidently fighting for his “territory” but could not fight against his creator and win.

Note Jesus’ final words on this matter, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29 (KJV)”.  The matter of this boy’s well being hinged on the battle of two worlds, and who was to overcome.  There is a spiritual warfare we must wage everyday.  It is not an easy fight.  We must commit ourselves to prayer, and at times we must give ourselves to it diligently even to the point of forsaking our food and nourishment for the day or a period of time.  We cannot win spiritual battles if we are weak in the Spirit of God.  That was the problem with the disciples, and why they could not help this man or his son.  It is a battle we wage to keep the souls of men from eternal torment.  We must pray for them to have opened eyes to see the death of Christ on the cross, his resurrection; and that they will have an open heart to receive the glorious salvation of God through Jesus Christ.

It is an imperative  that we remember the words of Jesus, “All things are possible to him/[her] that believeth”.  It is not just believing in the event as history, but in the person of Jesus Himself.

“And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it. 31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. 33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? 34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. 36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. 38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.”  Mark 9:30-40 (KJV)

A GRASPING FOR POWER BRINGS A REBUKE FROM JESUS, AND AN ANSWER TO THEIR PROBLEM.

Jesus is teaching a valuable lesson in these verses about service and “Greatness” or power and position.  He says He is going to die and then He will be glorified by resurrection.  He will die for our sins, and then by resurrection be given all that was His from the beginning.  By His death Jesus was serving the human race by providing our eternal salvation.

There are many people today looking for a longevity to life; they look for power and prestige, and position; but they look to themselves, when all that is needed is to bow at the feet of Jesus and call Him Lord, and wash the feet of our fellow man by service.  What great privilege it is to serve the Lord and bless our fellow man.

Jesus does enlist a small child as an illustration of humility and service.  A child will subject themselves to an older person, and most of the time trust in their care.  We are to come to Christ as little children, and we are to always receive our fellow man as if they were “little children”.  In receiving the “child” we receive Jesus and the One who sent Him.  And that is the Father.

When we see others working in the name of the Lord do we grow jealous, protective of our own work, or do we say, “Great!  Someone else is working in His vineyard.”  The latter should be our attitude and we should be an encouragement to all who are serving the Lord, and living for His glory.  This is not to be a blanket statement that approves of all who claim to be working in the name of Jesus, but to those who are Biblically sound, and those who are truly in Christ Jesus.

“For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”  Mark 9:41-50 (KJV)

THE HORRENDOUS, ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES OF SIN.

What is the price of sin?  “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; slowly but wholly taking control;  sin will leave you longer than you want to stay;  sin will cost you far more than you can ever pay.”  ANON.  It is something that Jesus took quite serious.  He took it so seriously that He went all the way to the cross and died, taking all our sin on Himself, paying the price that was mine and yours to pay.

How seriously does Jesus take sin?  Let us look at these verses.  Do not offend a “little one” for it would be better that a millstone were tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea.  “If your hand offends you, cut it off”;  “If your eye offends you pluck it out”.  It seems to me like Jesus takes sin quite seriously.  He was willing to pay the price for our sin that we might have eternal life in His eternal presence.  Jesus is not advocating the torture, or destruction of our bodies, but He is showing us the degradation of sin and its costliness and the price we should pay.  Simply cutting off a hand will not keep you from sinning.  Plucking out an eye will not keep you from the sin of lusting.   We saw in chapter seven that it is in the heart of man where we must deal with sin.  How much are you willing to pay to rid your life of sin?  Jesus was willing to give His life.

Jesus uses here the illustration of Gehenna – the garbage, trash, waste dump of the city of Jerusalem – that burned continually and the fire was never out.  There is an eternal fire that burns, where no desires are ever met, and there is nothing but pain, sorrow, hatred, vileness, hostility, and war.  Is that the place you want to be?  Is that the place where you want your friends and neighbors to spend eternity?  It is the place Jesus described as “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:46 (KJV)”.  He mentions this twice.  Is there a Heaven?  If Jesus said He was preparing a place for us, and that He was coming to take us to that place; then, yes there is a Heaven.  Is there a place called Hell?  Jesus mentions more about Hell than He does about Heaven.  He spent a whole story of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus to tell us of the reality of Hell.  He describes it as a place of flames, torment, and a place you would not want to be.  This is in Luke chapter sixteen.

Hell is the place we all deserve to be.  We do not deserve Heaven, but because of the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross and by the power of His resurrection we can go to Heaven for all eternity, but not without Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

In the beginning of this chapter we see Jesus in His glory and speaking with Elijah and Moses.  In between this picture of the glory of Jesus and this warning of Hell we find a child being tormented by a demon, disciples arguing about who is the greatest will be the greatest among them, and one disciple wondering about a man who is doing the work of Jesus who is not a part of their group.  These are the things that happen between Heaven and Hell.  As a matter of fact when Jesus died on the cross His head was toward Heaven and His feet were toward Hell, and His arms were outstretched to the world in invitation to come to Him.

What a Servant.  What a Savior.  For His arms are still outstretched to all so we may come to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is There Anything Really NEW?

In the world of 2009 there are many who desire “New Thought”, or I believe some are called “New Progressives” who desire new thought concerning life, life issues, religion, government, politics, news, family, law, or whatever. However, it appears to me that there is nothing that is new under the sun. I know of a man who told us that, and wrote about thousands of years ago. He is known as the wisest of men who ever walked on earth. His name was Solomon. His words were, “There is nothing new under the sun”.

As I read the prophet Jeremiah, and the other prophets I see nothing new in today’s world. People are still people; desiring their own way, turning from God’s way, and yet there are those who profess to be God’s people, even Christian, who will tell us we have to change to get people’s attention. How do we change? What do we change? Are we to change the message of God’s Word. God remains the same. His message remains the same. If we change it we become liars, and liars have no part with God, nor His kingdom.

Hear the prophet –

“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV)

The “Old paths” of which Jeremiah speaks of of walking with God. Walking with God means being in agreement with God. The people of the prophet’s day were attempting to worship YaHWeH on the Sabbath day, and worship their way of life, or other gods the other six days of the week. They had abandoned the “old paths” by doing so, and the prophet was trying to call the people back to God; to repentance.

At first the attempt was to call them to repentance to prevent their captivity; however when the captivity became inevitable then, for repentance, that they might learn to live for God in captivity and be a witness to the foreign government to which they were going. The people needed rest for their souls due to their torment.

People in the United States of America are living tormented lives due to failing health, failing finances, unemployment, or threats of unemployment; and many family issues. People of the world need rest for their souls. Many are seeking rest through yoga, meditations, even prayer, yet rest doesn’t come. The “old paths” or “the good way” is not found in these things. The “old paths” are found only in following the dictates of God’s law. The “good way” is only in God’s way.

The prophet’s call is “Stand in the ways and see…” The “good way” is in the “old paths”, and this is found only in the Living Word of God; that is the person of His Son. Rather than accepting God’s way, the “old paths” and living “the good way” people still seek the “New thought” of helping themselves, following the paths of false religion found in yoga, meditations, and even in prayers. Understand me when I mention meditations and prayer. Meditating upon God’s Word, hearing God speak through His Word is good; and that is good meditation; anything else is devilish thought. Genuine heart prayer, seeking God’s will, understanding of His word, gaining wisdom from God, and seeking His direction and glory is expected of us. The prayer I refer to is the reading of prayer, rosary, planned recitations, which are filled with religious and pious thought, but no connection to heaven.

The sort of meditation and prayer which allows you to consort with godlessness while supposedly maintaining a relationship with God is fruitless for God and His glory. That is what the world, Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day was doing. That is what many of today’s world is doing as well. While wanting something new they follow the paths of the old rebels, rather than the “old paths” which we should follow in Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.

The answer of the people to the prophet in that day was; “We will not walk therein”. If we choose to walk with the world, and take on their garments, we destroy our witness, our testimony of newness of life through Jesus Christ. We must put off the old man of flesh and sin; and put on the new man of life eternal (Ephesians 4:20-25); and also put away lying. The lying is done by confessing faith in Christ while also maintaining a life which is no different from the condemned and dying in sin.

I ask again, “Is anything really new?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Sower And The Hearts Of Humanity

“And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?  The sower soweth the word.  And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.  And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.  And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,  And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.  And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Mark 4:13-20 (KJV)

It is to be understood that the “field” where the seed is sown is the world.  The seed that is being sown is the Word of God.  When the Word of God falls on hard soil – the walkway, pathway, etc. – then the devil  comes along and carries it away.  This hard soil is a hard and unaccepting [unbelieving] heart toward God.

The “stony ground” is the heart of an individual who hears the Word of God and seemingly receives it, but because there is no depth for growth, troubles, trials, and heat come along and he wilts away, because there is no root.  This individual has “gladly received” the Word of God, but with no true heart for it.

The “thorny soil” is the person who has heard the Word of God, and like the previous one receives it gladly, but due to worldly influence, greed for riches, and other distractions is choked off from receiving the life giving rays of Son light.

The “good ground” hears the Word of God, gladly receives it and goes on and bears fruit.  Each area of the soil will bear a different amount of fruit, but it bears fruit none the less.  That is evidence of a genuine believer/follower of Jesus Christ.  He/She will bear fruit.  A changed life is the first evidence, a burden for the lost, condemned and dying, and being a witness are evidences of fruit.  All of these will lead to souls coming to faith in Christ.  Christians will bear fruit.

Here is a summation of the conditions of “hearts” of men:

  1. The first kind are those who hear the Word, but it has no affect on them and so the devil snatches away the Word;
  2. The second kind are those who seem to receive the Word of God gladly; they may even seem excited about it, but the troubles of persecution and rejection of friends, and such come along, and they take off to sights unknown;
  3. The third heart is much like the second, but it is not persecution or trouble that causes them to turn away from the truth, it is rather, the desire for wealth, riches, pleasure, etc..  None of these first three are even redeemed.  They are all still condemned, dying, and without hope.  Is there any hope for them.
  4. The fourth heart is the blessed heart that has genuinely been saved, changed into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and it brings forth fruit.  It is the fruit which brings honor and glory to the sower.

Yes!  We can pray for people who are in such a condition, as those of the first three, that God may continue to prepare their hearts and get rid of the thorns, and give depth to the soil that they might bear fruit.   After the sowing of the seed it is God’s work alone.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Honey And Salt

A thought came to my mind the other day, “Too much honey; not enough salt”.  I lingered on thinking of that for some time to try and get some leverage with it or from it, and I think I have found some.

Our society, or culture lives for the pleasurable, and we have found ourselves in a little chaos.  Wall Street pretty much sets the agenda in the matters of wealth, at least did for a while, then things fell apart, and now that it appears to be recovering there are many going back to the god of greed.

Pleasure, comfort, entertainment is fine in their place and time; but we need to be realistic about life.  It cannot be all fun and games.  It is not all fun and games; as much as we would like for it to be.

The writer of Proverbs said, “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”  Proverbs 25:16 (KJV).  Seems you could say this is a case of “Too much honey…”.

We have all heard the saying “You catch more bees with honey” or “flies”.  My question with that is “Who wants bees?”  Unless you are a beekeeper.  I surely don’t want any flies.  I know the idea of the saying is similar to “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down”; but too much is still too much.

We need some “salt” in society, or our culture.  Salt is a flavoring, seasoning, healer, and we need healing for sure.  “This cereal is ‘slick'” is a phase I can remember my Dad saying concerning eating a bowl of hot cereal for breakfast or something else.  “Slick” meant that it didn’t have salt in it; or at the least; not enough salt, and makes the food have an “flat” or “slick” feel in the mouth.

Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”  Matthew 5:13 (KJV)  As Christians we are to add flavor to the culture, society, community, we live in.  And that flavor or action, or taste will not always be a pleasant one.  It may offend, but all in all it will be the aid to what ails us.

Without Jesus and the salt of the earth the honey of society becomes nothing but sorrow.  Enjoy the pleasures God gives, in Him, but never forsake Him; enjoy them in worshipping Him; and you will be blessed.  Forget Him or forsake Him, and you perish.

“TO MUCH  HONEY; NOT ENOUGH SALT”

-Tim A. Blankenship

In A Foreign Land

Abraham, Sarah and Lot along with some servants had departed Ur of the Chaldees many years before, with a promise from God of a land; a Promise Land and promise of becoming a nation.  Becoming a nation meant having a son.  For years they had waited.  Since departing Ur many things had happened.  Lot and his family had gone their own way, along with his livestock and goods.

Now Sarah had died, and Abraham needed a place to bury her.  Only thing was he was in a land that was not his own.  He was a foreigner and  had to purchase some land or receive it from the owners as a gift.  The following is the narrative of what took place following the event of Sarah’s death:

“And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,  I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.  And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,  Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.  And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.  And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,  That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you…”  Genesis 23:3-9 (KJV)

The possessors of the lands knew Abraham, and knew he had been a good and decent neighbor.  They knew him to have been a honorable man, just and fair in dealing with the people of the lands around them.  So we have Heth making suggestion that he bury Sarah in one of their burial places.  This however does not sit well with Abraham.

Abraham desires to have a piece of land, for which he is willing to pay a price; a fair price; and that will have his ownership of it.  Through the purchase of this piece of land, the price paid for it would be security for future generations who would follow.  It would also be a fulfillment of the promise of the land, though at this time a small portion of it.

He had previously “planted a grove in Beersheba” land of the Philistines, and in doing so was placing a claim on that land.  Now he is purchasing a piece of land, and “planting” the body of his wife.  Would that not also be a claim on the land.  Many prayers of Abraham and Sarah had been offered in the almost sixty years of living in the land.  Many tears had been shed, and much blood had been shed as well defending themselves against thieves, kidnappers-slave traders, and cutthroats who just wanted to kill.

Now there would be an actual possession of the land.  The Promise of God was going to be fulfilled, and Abraham’s purchase was evidence of that faith in the promise.

A few years ago one church which I was pastor had an open lot.  Things were not going real well for the church financially, and it was brought up to sell the lot.  Well that was not how I believed the LORD  was leading us.  Financially it made sense to do so, but faith wise I believed we would not be trusting the Lord and His promises to us.  I had read where the prophet Jeremiah was called by God to purchase land as evidence of faith that the people of Judah would return to Israel following their captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 32).  I believed, and to this day I still believe that it was God’s guidance to keep that piece of land as promise that God was going to bless that church.  I don’t know if the church still has that piece of land or not; but for the time I believed it to be right, and the people decided it would be best not to sell it.

As Christians we are pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land, similar to Abraham.  When we purchase, possess, or own a piece of land; it is God’s land.  God owns all land on this earth.  It is His.  The Psalmist has written, quoting God “Every beast of the forest is Mine, and  the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), just a picturesque way of telling us that God owns it all.  We are to be good stewards of God’s land while we are here, but this world, this land on which we live is not what has been promised us.  There is a land greater and more grandeur than any land we can imagine here on this earth.

We have been promised the land which is called glory, heaven, with golden streets, gates of pearl, and a city with a foundation made of precious gems.  Even better than that, it is  the place where Jesus is.  Take away the golden streets, gates of pearl, and only Jesus; and that would be sufficient for me.

Do you know Jesus?  He is the one who came to this earth to die, and give His life as a payment for our sins.  The price of His blood was paid to God our Father as the full price of our sin, and made a way of reconciliation between lost, condemned, dead people and the Living God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

Take care of the land and goods God has blessed you with here.  Use them to honor and glorify His name.  One day when He comes again He will take you to Himself; that where He is there we may be also.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Only Begotten One

The Psalms are the hymn book of the Bible.  They are songs written and sung by kings, and sinners.  King David is recognized as the Psalmist, but there were others who wrote and sung some of them.  For instance Moses probably wrote Psalms 95-100, then there is a man named Asaph which little is known of him.  He is referred to in several verses of 1 Chronicles, and is given as the author of the fiftieth Psalm.  We have a good variety to sing.

Now, back to the Second Psalm.  Jesus is the king referred to in verse six.  He is King of His enemies, King of saints, and King of His Father.

“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, ‘Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee” Psalm 2:7 (KJV).

This verse is one which clarifies that Jesus was with the Father from the beginning.  The Father declares to the Son, before He was born into the human race, “This day have I begotten Thee. ” How could the Father say to a non-existent being ‘Today you are born’ and ‘You are My Son’?  He could, I guess, but it certainly would not make sense.  It also would be for the day that the Father would decree for the blessed virgin to conceive.

Jesus, the only begotten Son of God the Father decreed before time and eternity that Jesus – the Word – would become flesh and dwell among us without sin, and die for the sins of all mankind.  The day God became flesh, and “(we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father)” full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (KJV).  And dwelt among us, thus the name “Immanuel” – God with us.

This is the One whom others have mocked.  He is the One who has made all things, and has set them in order.  He is the One whom the Roman soldiers drove the nails in His hands and feet.  This One who was with the Father from the beginning became man, that He would die, and atone for the sins of mankind. Why is it so many turn their backs on Him, deny Him, and choose to hate Him; when He is worthy of so much love, devotion and worship?

Rage on wicked rulers if you so desire.  The “Desire of nations” will come and reign on the earth whether you approve or not.  He is coming.  As the prophet Amos said, “Prepare to meet thy God”.

Many times it just seems as though there is not much in our lives that seems worthwhile.  Sometimes those thoughts can be a wake up call.  Wake up and realize that there is more to life than “Me”.  There is so much more to this life than “Me”.  There is GOD, and in the person of His Son showed His love for you by judging our sin on the cross of His Son Jesus Christ.  The “begotten” One became our sin – “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Calls Him, “MY KING”

We have seen the arrogance of the world leaders, and their attempt to overthrow God and His ways.  We see it everyday as they make their futile attempts at “peace” with nations who want no peace, but through the destruction of God’s people.  We have seen that their futile attempts are only laughable to the Most High God – the One who sits ‘in the heavens’.  Judgment surely awaits those who attempt to take God’s position and sit on His throne.

“Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion” Psalm 2:6 (KJV).

To destroy His foes all God needs do is speak a word, and it is done.  How foolish and arrogant of man to attempt to take the throne of the Almighty. Yet we attempt it everyday.  Even the Christian who is not walking in the Spirit of God, but after the flesh (Romans 8:1-4); is attempting to overthrow the leadership, and power of God in their lives.  It is a failing proposition.

In the TREASURY OF DAVID by C. H. Spurgeon  is written, “Jesus Christ is a threefold King. First, His enemies’ King;  secondly, His saints’ King;  thirdly, His Father’s King”.  Let’s look at this quote on this matter.

“First. Christ is His enemies’ King, that is, He is King over His enemies.  Christ is a King above all kings.  What are all the mighty men, the great, the honourable men of the earth to Jesus Christ?  They are but like a little bubble in the water; for if all the nations, in comparison to God, be but as the drop of the bucket, or the dust of the balance, as the prophet speaks in Isaiah xl.15 [40:15], how little then must be the kings of the earth!  Nay, beloved, Christ Jesus is not only higher than kings, but He is higher than the angels; yea, He is the head of angels; and, therefore, all the angels in heaven are commanded to worship Him.  Col.ii.12, Heb. i6…..He is King over all kingdoms, over all nations, over all governments, over all powers, over all people Dan. vii. 14….. The very heathen are given to Christ, and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession.”

Jesus Christ is truly this King of which the LORD God speaks.

“Secondly. Jesus Christ is His saints’ King.  He is King of the bad, and of the good; but as the wicked, He rules over them by His power and might; but the saints, He rules in them by His Spirit and graces.  Oh! this is Christ’s spiritual kingdom, and here He rules in the hearts of His people, here He rules over their consciences, over their wills, over their affections, over their judgments and understandings, and nobody hath anything to do here but Christ.  Christ is not only the King of nations, but the King of saints; the one He rules over, the other He rules in.”

First, Jesus Christ is King of His enemies; and secondly He is King of His saints.  I am glad that by His grace, I am a saint.  A saint is only a sinner who has been saved because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and by the power of the resurrection.
We now look at the third part of Jesus being a “Threefold king”.

“Thirdly.  Jesus Christ is His Father’s King too, and so His Father calls Him: ‘I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion.’  Well may He be our King, when He is God’s King.  But you may say, how is Christ the Father’s King?  Because He rules for His Father.  There is a twofold kingdom of God committed to Jesus Christ; first, a spiritual kingdom, by which He rules in the hearts of His people, and so is King of saints; and secondly, a providential kingdom, by which He rules the affairs of this world, and so He is King of nations. — Condensed from William Dyer’s Christ’s Famous Titles, 1665.”

To conclude the teaching with this verse; when we can see Jesus as the “King of His enemies”, “the King of saints”, and as “His Father’s King” surely we can trust all affairs of this life to His care.  He is the sovereign King of kings, and He rules not only in the hearts of men, but over nature as well.  Remember He calmed the storms with merely a word.

All the efforts of the rulers of the earth, which are against the God, the King of glory, will come to naught.  All their efforts of evil will only be used against them to accomplish the will of God in the earth, and in eternity.  To submit to the King of kings, and be an agreeing participant in His work is the only way to peace.  The King of glory became a man to die on the cross, was buried, and rose again, and He ever lives to reign.

Is He your King?  He is whether you recognize Him as such or not.  Recognize Him as your King, be on His side, and have peace. The “peace of God which passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Freedom’s Responsibility

It seems that there are many  people who believe that freedom means living your life as “I please”; and it matters not who gets hurt.  As long as “I can do what I want”, then freedom means, “I am answerable to no one else”, “I can drive however I choose”, “I can say anything I want to say”.

If that is the attitude of “freedom” you have, then you of all people are enslaved.  Real freedom is taking responsibility, for your own actions, for helping with others who have needs, and considering others before yourself.

Hear what the Word of God says:

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  Galations 5:13 (KJV)

The Christian’s freedom is considerate of others. It does not wish its own way; but the way that will honor and glorify Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Please God

In this day when you may be going through a job loss, threatened job loss, a loss of investments, or any health problem; or maybe your not hurting at all, but you know you need something fulfilling in your life.  This is for us all.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:4-6 (KJV)

Have a great day in the Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

In The Love Of God

“…Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21 (NKJV).

We are continuing with the theme of personal and individual Christian responsibility. It is our personal responsibility, led by the Spirit of God, God’s Word, and through praying in the Spirit to build up our faith (v. 20). It is also the personal responsibility of every Christian to keep themselves “in the love of God”.

That “keep yourselves in the love of God” is accomplished much like “building your faith”, and that is through the power of God in us; given us at our new birth. That power is the presence of the Spirit of God. Paul wrote to the Romans, and one of the things he was inspired by the Spirit of God to write was, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” (Romans 8:9b). The “Spirit of Christ” is the same Holy Spirit who lives in all believers/followers of Christ Jesus. That Spirit is the same Holy Spirit who lived and abided in Jesus as He lived and ministered walking on earth.

The love of God cannot be taken from us. We have this promise of God from another of the apostle Pauls writings, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 8:38-39, NKJV). The love of God is immeasurable. It is wonderful. It is powerful. The love of God is really beyond the common man’s grasp; anyone’s grasp. It can only be received as a gift, a gift from the giver of love.

“Keeping ourselves in the love of God” is done through persevering in the faith. Ministering to others in love, expecting nothing in return. To be always faithful in obedience and faithful in living out the salvation which has been so freely given to us.

We are to always be “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” by the expectant heart for the return of Jesus Christ. That will be the fulfillment of His mercy. That should be the expectation of the heart of every believer. Looking for the return of Christ Jesus. Jude was looking for that day. That will be the day of mercy, unlike any other day we have seen. It was so good and wonderful and gracious of the Lord to give us assurance of salvation, grace and mercy on that day we knelt before Him acknowledging Him as Lord, and receiving Him as our Savior, by His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection; and put within the heart of every follower of Jesus Christ is the desire to see Him face to face.

Remain in the place of obedience. The MacArthur Study Bible note for this verse notes, “It means to remain in the place of obedience where God’s love is poured out on His children, as opposed to being disobedient and incurring His chastening (cf. 1 Cor. 11:27-31; Heb. 12:5-11). Keeping ourselves in the “love of God” is done through an obedient love for God. It is not a task or a burden. It is really a joy for the true child of God to live in and keep the love of God. It is also a joy to live for and expect that day when Jesus comes and takes us to be forever with Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Conspiracy Theorists

Prophets were often accused of conspiring with enemy forces. Isaiah was no different. Isaiah was involved in a conspiracy, but not with the enemy of Israel or Judah. He was in a conspiracy with the LORD of hosts. That is “The Conspiracy” I write of in this article. If preachers are to be the men of God we have been called to be we will be accused at times of conspiring against our church, our people, and sometimes even accused of going against tradition, when we really are not.

The prophet Isaiah is told by God, “not to walk in the way of this people”. When our people are going astray, when they are living out of the will of the LORD, when they are in feuds with one another, when they are charging the preacher of conspiracy, then is the time for that preacher to stand and preach like he has never preached the Word before. It is not the time to back down.

Hear the Word of the LORD spoken to Isaiah:

“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,  Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” Isaiah 8:11-15 (KJV)

The prophet is being directed by the LORD to have no walk in the way of his people. They were actually accusing this man of God of conspiring with the enemy, and they wanted to pronounce judgment upon this man Isaiah.

As I look as this passage of Scripture I find myself wondering, “What did they fear?”, “What did they dread?” Were they fearing the dreaded enemy that they had heard was coming? It seems to me that they were probably fearing the failure of the economy. The failure of their insurance policies, ie., their walls. They may have been more fearful of their health failing them as well. What ever they feared Isaiah is told not to fear the same things, but rather to “Regard as holy” Him who is speaking to the prophet. He is assured that God will be his sanctuary – a place of protection and solitude.

The prophet is also told “Let Him (ie., God) be your fear, and let Him be your dread”. The only hope anyone has is in the LORD. It does no one any good whatsoever to fear and dread anything that is human, or thing, or thought, or act of another. We have absolutely no control over other’s lives; but God does.

We can stand assured by God and His Word that those who stand against God, His Word, and His men will find a Rock of offense, they will stumble, they shall fall, and be broken. If there is a conspiracy among the men of God; let “The Conspiracy” be that we are faithful to God, His Word, and His way. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the Word, warning the people, encouraging the people who are weary, “comforting the afflicted; and afflicting the comfortable.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Grumbling Apostates

“These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.” Jude 16 (NKJV).

Jude still speaking/writing of the apostate heretics who lead the people of God astray if they will not stand guard over their minds and hearts; calls them grumblers, complainers. Have you ever heard a “grumbler”? These people may profess Jesus as Savior, and they have tasted of the goodness of God, seen the power of God, and are not satisfied with God.

This same type of behavior called “murmuring” in the King James Version, and is similar to the murmuring going on in the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. The apostates are never satisfied with God. They do not know God, or they would not be apostates. They have never known God, or they would not be apostates. Why is it people can witness and see the power and glory of God and walk away, go into their homes or place of business, their car, or anywhere and there grumble about the lack of God’s care, love and intervention in their lives.

Many a time when a professing Christian has tragedy come into their lives; a loss of a loved one, a very bad automobile accident, sickness, disease they ask the question, “Why did God do this to us?” or “Why did God allow this to happen to us?” They become angry with God. These questions come to us in times of tragic events, but the child of God never lingers in them. We have seen the power of God and we give Him glory through these events, by clinging to the Lord Jesus, believing He is going to bring us through this for His glory and our good.

The apostate will not find peace with God, but continue grumbling, and always finding fault with God. What do you think calling Jesus a “Wimp” is? If not finding fault with God. One prominent, “Word of faith” preacher has called Jesus a wimp on the cross dying for our sins. One prominent television talk show host is constantly talking about finding god within you, or something along that line. That is actually finding fault with God, because it is not enough that there is one God who has loved us so much He gave His only Son to die for our sins; so we must have god in our image.

These are apostates not satisfied with God, and making god like they want him. They are grumblers, complainers. “Complainers” are always finding fault with the good. The devil himself fits into this category; he complained against God, and attempted to take over heaven; but was cast out. Cain was a complainer, and wanted god his own way. Apostates are the same way; wanting god their way.

The apostates are also flatterers. They make people feel good about themselves. “You can achieve anything, if you only believe” are words many will say, while asking for your dollars. “Believe in yourself” is another phrase that is being passed around today, and sadly in many “churches” as well. The apostate heretics teaching these things are only grabbing the fame, fortune, and supposed future they desire. At the same time abusing the Word of God for their pleasure, and leading multitudes into hell. They will meet their victims there; unless they repent and turn solely to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust only in the finished work of Christ on His cross.

Guard your heart and mind against the flattering words of the preachers and teachers who refuse to preach the power of the cross – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and His coming again. When they refuse to preach and teach the cross of Jesus, they are in effect; not preaching Jesus at all.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Is Not King

Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25

This is going to be a overview of chapters 17 through 21.  It seems that these chapters tie together very strongly in showing what happens when God is not the One ruling individuals, and national life.

The key to understanding these chapters appears to be the phrase, “There was no king…”, and that would certainly mean that even God was not the rule of their hearts and lives.  At least they were not submitted to His rule and reign.  We know and believe as Christians, of course, that God is sovereign, and in complete control of every nation, ruler, and individual.

OUTLINE chapters 17 – 21 –

I.  THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE NATION WAS IN SHAMBLES (17:6-18:31).
II.  LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT, AND COMMITMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21).
III.  SEEMING UNRESTRAINED ANIMAL LUST, AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).
IV.  WARS BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).
V.  UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THE SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCHES, COMMUNITIES, AND NATIONS CRUMBLE (17:6-18-31).  This as a matter of fact is the ultimate reason that nations crumble and fall.  When the spiritual, moral leadership fails, nations are left without a foundation on which to stand.

In this text we have a young man (unnamed) from the  priestly family (Levi) who goes to serve as a priest for one man [Micah] and his family.  He is basically selling the office of priest.  It isn’t long until some group more powerful, with more means comes and buys him away.

This was a young “priest” who was selling his services for gain, to live, and not giving spiritual guidance, or any life guidance what so ever.  Right priestly, spiritual leadership will confront, rebuke, exhort (2 Timothy 3:16-17) through Scriptural counsel.

Right spiritual leadership begins with the priesthood of the home.  The priest of the home is the husband of the wife, father of the children.  This is one of the appointments of God for the Christian man of the house.  That is not to say he is the only priest of the home, the wife, the mother, and each of the children who are Christians are also priests under Jesus Christ, and have the authority to approach the very throne of God.

God has placed the Christian man as the head of spiritual leadership of that home, and when this begins  to fail the foundation begins weakening.  When the husbands and fathers are not leading the homes spiritually, that will show up in the local church, the community, the State government, and the National governments.

This responsibility begins with every Christian.  Make God King of your life through faith in Jesus Christ and His cross.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE A LACK OF LOVE, RESPECT AND COMMITTMENT IN MARRIAGE (19:1-21)  We have in these verses a Levite who has a “concubine” who has forsaken him and returned to her father.  For all practical purposes we see her here as the only “wife” he has.  He does seem to have a love for her, because he pursues her to her father’s home.

The wife had been unfaithful (v. 2), and went to her father’s home in Bethlehem-Judah, and was there for four months.  He goes to her father’s house to bring her home.  He meets his “father in law” (v. 7) for the first time, and they begin communicating , creating a bond with one another, and the “husband” stays the night;  and it wasn’t until the late afternoon of the fifth day that the man and his ‘concubine’ departed.

She  has shown a lack of commitment in her marriage, by being unfaithful.  He has shown some love for her by  pursuing her to her father’s home, to bring her back with him to their home.  He does not however have much respect for marriage, because a concubine was only for the purpose of man’s pleasure or service, and God actually commands a man have one wife.  We are not told anywhere that she was his “wife”, but only concubine.

It seems that the man made bad choices.  This is certainly evidence of the time of spiritual darkness of that day and time.  She is not his wife, she is his wife.  She is not his wife in the traditional sense of that day; she is his wife in the sense of his responsibility for her.

Just as this issue with the Levite and the concubine is confusing so too has the marriage issue of our day become quite confusing.  God ordained that a man leave his father and mother, and cleave only to his wife (Genesis 2:24).  He has ordained that one man and one woman wed, and be together until they are parted by death.  Because of sin God has given allowances for divorce;  Jesus said, “Because of the hardness of your hearts…” (Matthew 19:8;  Mark 10:5).

When God is not king in marriage, then there will be confusion about the rights and wrongs of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.  There will be arguments over authority, rights, and all kinds of family issues; similar to whether a woman should have children if she is not married, and especially if an unmarried woman should be allowed to have fourteen children, through medical means.

When God is King we follow His plans for life, love and marriage and family.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNRESTRAINED LUST AND HUMAN DEPRAVITY (19:22-28).  This Levite showed same careless attitude of many people, including many Christians of our day;

1. Any judgment that may be coming is somewhere around the corner in another time and place;
2. Still longing for more fun, more partying and more amusement.

He took no thought for his or her own life when he decided to leave her father’s home so late, and found himself on the streets of an unholy place.

A fine, courteous man invites them to his home for safety, and shelter.  The man accepts the invitation, and they are soon approached by the “sons of Belial” (v. 22), and they sound much like the people who approached Lot’s door requesting to “know” the men he had in his house (Genesis 20:4-5).  Only these were not struck with blindness or later destroyed by fire and brimstone.

Lust was in the hearts of these people.  They had no self restraint, no fear of God, and no care for anyone but self.

The sad part about it is that the Levite and his host seem to have no love for anything but self either.  The “good guys” are not so great after all, are they?  Now, I know all the arguments about this; and I clearly see it, but no man who is right with God in any time or culture would sell their wife, daughter; nor any other man’s wife or daughter for their life.  We will not cast them out to the savages for our own benefit, and to leave them lying dead on the “thresholds” after having wanted back in.

When God is King there is love in the marriage, the home, and respect for one another; and a heart for what is right, wrong, and responsibilities for guidance and protection of that home.

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE WARS AND UNREST BETWEEN BRETHREN (19:29-20:48).  Though rightly angry over the death of this woman; I cannot help but believe that part of his actions in cutting up her body is from guilt.  Why didn’t I stand my ground?  Why didn’t I stand to protect her and the man’s daughter (19:24)?  So now he wants to get all the people of Israel involved in his sin.  The rush to judgment, though they had consulted God in the matter, led to the eventual destruction of the tribe of Benjamin.   Though God had given approval for the first two attacks He had not promised them victory until the third attack.

The nation needed to learn from this event.  Their sins, their lack of trust in God, and dependence upon Him was their major offense.  Now they have come to God these three times, it would seem, as only a crutch, or a spare tire.

How should it have been handled?  Should they have been obeying God’s commandments, God’s laws?  YES!  Should they have had only one wife?  YES!  Sometimes even at all times when we just insist on having our own way God allows us to do it.  Then we suffer the thorns and thistles of the life we chose.  That young lady who was counselled by her pastor she shouldn’t marry that non-christian boy, but went ahead with it and, is now troubled by a drunken husband who beats her, cheats on her, and abuses the kids and won’t bring home the check for groceries and rent, but gambles, and drinks it away; she now wants to blame God for her choice.  You were warned young lady.  God gave you the word and you didn’t hear it, you rejected it for your self desire, and will; now you are paying.

When God is King there is obedience to His commandments, and prayer and right choices lead to a life of blessing.  Do we who are Christians ever make wrong choices?  Most definitely.  We pay for our wrong choices.  When God is King it will not lead to unrest between brethren.  He is not a crutch or a spare tire; to be only called upon when in dire straits.

When God is King His Word will be believed and practiced and feared.  When God is King there will be no conflict over whether the Word of God is inerrant, infallible, and eternal

WHEN GOD IS NOT KING THERE WILL BE UNHOLY COMPASSIONS (21:1-24).  The tribe of Israel had basically been destroyed.   Now they suddenly grow concerned about that one tribe, and begin doing all kinds of compromising things to justify their actions.  A plan, a scheme of kidnapping women, and joining of the kidnapped with the living Benjamites, and the kidnapped women being from a city of Judea which has been destroyed due to their lack of participation in the war.  When God is not King man schemes, plots, and eventually loses out on the blessings of God.

Compassion is a good, and sometimes even godly thing.  Any compassion that is based on godlessness is not godly.  It may have been right to preserve the tribe of Benjamin, but the plots and scheming was not right.  It would not have need to be done should things been done according to God’s Word, guidance and direction.

When God is King there will be holy compassion and holy unions, all without schemes, and plots around the desires of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Who Is Jesus???

The question, the title of this article  is still one that is often asked; even in this modern, or post-modern society.  Does it really matter who Jesus is?  Some think so, and that includes myself.

There is plenty of historical evidence that a man named Jesus lived during the time of the one named in the New Testament.  Was he just a man who was different from all men, and inspired great hope in others; or was He something more?

Many of the world religions believe Jesus lived, but to Mohammed he was only a prophet.  The god [Allah] of Mohammed has no son.  The followers of Mohammed need no one to die in their place.  To many other religions of the world they seem to all place Jesus in the realm of a “great teacher” or a “great prophet”, but Son of God, or God incarnate?  NO!

The question has even came up in talk shows concerning the matter of Jesus.  There are well known people, celebrities who tell things such as “We can all become our own savior, our own god, by becoming a christ spirit, or allowing the christ spirit to inhabit us”.  In my mind it is a mixture of demonism, and self worship; which when it really comes down to the truth is demon worship.

Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”  The following is the full question and the session where Jesus asked the question:

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” Matthew 16:13-20 (KJV)

You will notice that when Jesus had asked the question there were various answers.  “Some say you are John the Baptist; some that you are Elijah; others say you are Jeremiah or one of the other prophets” .  It seems that people may have believed in some form of reincarnation or something.

Let’s think about that question for a moment.  “Who do men say that I [Jesus] am?”  To some he is a good teacher, or a good prophet, or a good example to follow.  Does that really answer who Jesus is?  I really don’t think so.

Jesus’s question includes the term “Son of man”.  For Jesus and His work this was a term of respect, and only used of on other man in history, and that was the prophet Ezekiel.  For Ezekiel it meant that he was a prophet of the Deity.  For Jesus it means much more.

As we look further into this dialogue Jesus asked the great question which all people need to answer.  “Who do you say that I am?”  Who is Jesus to you?  Your answer to this question will determine your destiny for eternity.  There is only one answer which God blesses.

Peter, the hasty one, answered very quickly, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  “Christ” is the annointed one.  This would mean the Messiah of Israel the Annointed One of God.  The Messiah is the Son of God and the Son of man.  God became flesh and dwelt among us.  He is Immanuel meaning “God with us”.    Where did Peters answer; his confession come from?  How did he know this answer?  Listen to the words of Jesus.

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. “

Jesus blesses Peter for his answer telling him that this did not come from his own mind or flesh, but by revelation from God.  His [Peter’s] answer was more than just an intellectual knowledge, it was heavenly knowledge given him by God the Father.  No one can, in or of themselves, just decide one day that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.  It comes by revelation from God.  When it comes by revelation from God, that is when that becomes a strong conviction one will die for, and it is one worth living for to die for.  Peter would later give his life for the cause of Jesus Christ.

The blessing the Lord gave to Peter was more than just words.  The confession of Peter becomes the bedrock, the foundation upon which the Church [the Body of Christ] is built.  No one comes into Christ apart from this confession.  No one comes without the faith announcement, heart conviction, life changing event, of acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus was not saying that Peter was the rock upon which the Church is built.  The Rock is Christ, and our confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Jesus tells  Peter that He gives to him the “Keys to the kingdom”.  Keys represent authority.  With keys we can shut up a building to prevent entry by unauthorized personel.  With keys we secure a car, a truck, a building.  That is what gives us power over what we own, or are given from an approved authority.

The following is from The MacArthur Study Bible on the matter of the “Keys of the kingdom of heaven” –

 

16:19 the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  These represent authority, and here Christ gives  Peter (and by extension all other believers) authority to declare what was bound or loosed in heaven.  This echoed the promise of John 20:23, where Christ gave the disciples authority to forgive or retain the sins of people.  All this must be understood in the context of 18:15-17, where Christ laid out specific, instructions for dealing with sin in the church.”

The MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV, p. 1423

This includes the power that we have in prayer, the leadership in our churches, and our power with God in heaven.

The question remains, “Who is Jesus?”  It does not really matter who others say He is; when it gets down to where the rubber hits the road; then what really matters is who Jesus is to you.

If you do not see Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God, then you are not in a right relationship with God, you are lost, condemned, yet in your sins.  Jesus said to Philip, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9-11).

God, and Father, open the eyes of all who may read this that they may see the truth of who Jesus is, and save them for YOUR own glory.  Amen.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Evidences Of The Filling Of The Spirit

PURPOSE: To show that  by the Christian’s yielding control of life to the Holy Spirit that Christian is filled with the Spirit, making life more heavenly on earth.

OUTLINE OF EPHESIANS 5:18 THROUGH CHAPTER 6: 9:

I.  BE CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (vv. 18-20).

II.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED LIVING IS A LIFE OF SUBMISSION (vv. 21-24).

III.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED HUSBANDS LOVE THEIR WIVES SACRIFICIALLY (vv. 25-33).

IV.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHILDREN OBEY THEIR PARENTS (vv. 6:1-4).

V.  SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHRISTIANS PRACTICE THEIR GOD GIVE VOCATION (6:5-9).

BE CONTROLLED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD (vv. 18-20).  From the beginning we must understand that every born again individual is indwelt by the Spirit of God.  He inhabits your body along with your spirit that has been born anew in Christ Jesus.

Most of us have witnessed the activities of a drunk who was mad drunk by drinking by alcoholic beverage or some other drug legal or illegal.  The man or woman now drunk has become boisterous, knows no fear, will do things they would not normally do when they were sober.  The individual made drunk by this foreign substance, is controlled by another substance which has robbed him of self control.

Paul knew what the excess of wine did to people.  I know what the excess of wine does to people, as I am sure you do as well.  Most drunks believe they can drive, maybe even fly, or do anything.  Paul uses the likeness here in a somewhat analogous way.  Drunks (for the most part) become drunk willingly and by drinking what they know will inebriate them.  The Holy Spirit filled believer becomes Spirit filled willingly.  The drunk knows no fear.  The Spirit filled believer is not fearful.  The drunk does things he/she would not normally do, if sober.  The Spirit filled Christian does things he/she would not normally do, such as one on one witnessing, preaching, serving others, teaching, giving, loving, and living with the fruits of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23) more practical things.

Now here is wheree this analogy breaks down.  The drunk has no self control, while the power of the Holy Spirit, in the Spirit filled Christian, gives each Christian self control.

In verses 19-20 (Colossians 3:15-17) we begin seeing what the life of the Spirit filled person is like.  He/She is in an attitude of worship.  He is at peace with God in his heart, always praising God.  Always a song in the heart and on the lips.  The Spirit filled/controlled Christian will have their lives filled with song and singing.  Always thankful, for all things, and identified in the Lord Jesus.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED LIVING IS A LIFE OF SUBMISSION (vv. 21-24).  Further evidence of Spirit controlled living is submission to one another.  Submission in this event is recognizing God ordained positions and being subject to those who are in those positions as God has designed and led.  For the man; a woman is far superior to the man at being a woman, and all that God has designed for her to be and do.  For the woman; the man is far superior to the woman at being a man, and all that God has designed for him to be and do.  Therefore, there is cause for us to submit to one another.

As members of the Body of Christ [the Church] our Lord and Savior, we are to be first submissive to Him, and if we are genuinely submitted to Hom we will also be to one another.  We will be accountable to each other in our walk with Christ.  When a brother or sister in Christ submits to another Christian it is motivation for Christian living unseen any other way.  We submit one to one, all to one, and one to all.  Husband to wife, wife to husband, and children to parents and parents to children; of course remembering that God has placed some in positions of authority.

Wives are to submit to their husbands [in the Lord] because God ordained it so in the order of creation (1 Timothy 2:11-13).  It was from Adam’s side which God created woman to be his helper.  Believe me ladies; we men need a lot of help. 8)  She is to submit to her husband as to the Lord and for His sake.

The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…  The head is what keeps the rest functioning properly.  Without direction, vision and leadership from the head the collective body will fail.

In every organization, business, military endeavor, church and home there must be a head who will lead the way.  If all try to lead you have chaos.  Now, we understand as human beings, leadership that is dictatorial is not responsible leadership.  The head, in human affairs, will listen to advice and counsel from others, and make decisions accordingly.

Wives and their husbands should be able to sit down together and make plans and talk things through.  Generals who listen to good advice from privates would be wise Generals indeed.  In many cases it may be that listening to Privates, is part of the reason they made the promotion of General.

The husband is a wise husband, and wise head who will listen to his wife.  The husband as head of the wife and analogous to Christ should also see the picture of sacrifice.  Christ gave Himself for the Church.  If the husband is willing to sacrifice his life for his wife she will have no problem being submissive to him.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED HUSBANDS LOVE THEIR WIVES SACRIFICIALLY (vv. 25-33).  Holy Spirit filled husbands love their wives sacrificially.

As Jesus gave Himself for the Church in order to have a glorious bride the Spirit filled husband voluntarily gives himself to and for his wife.  She is a special and precious treasure.  He will see her as an extension of himself, a partner, a friend, a helper for life.  He cares for her well being; physically, financially and spiritually.  He loves her as he loves himself.  A man will give up almost anything to do what he wants to do – what he REALLY wants to do.  If the husband really loves his wife he will give up anything to show her that love.  Jesus gave up the glory of heaven for a time to show He loves His bride.

No longer under the care of his parents he loves his wife and becomes one with her for the rest  of their lives.  There is no one else by her that he sacrifices for, not even himself.  If husbands want reverence from their wives we must first love them sacrificially, and do so at the expense of our own comfort, pride, and well being.

Here is some other sacrifices husbands can make for their wife’s benefit:

  1. That favorite football team that’s playing the same time your wife wants you to go shopping with her; what will you do?
  2. Her favorite TV show is on the same time as yours; what will you do?
  3. Your home from work for the day, there are things you could be doing that you enjoy, the wife is working, and there are dirty clothes to be washed, and dishes in the kitchen sink; do you wait for her to come home and do them? or will you do them? instead of what you want to do?

The above mentioned things are not giving your life, but merely giving up your wants for what would be good for her.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHILDREN OBEY THEIR PARENTS (vv. 6:1-4).  Obedient children are a blessing to any home.  Children who love our Lord, and are Spirit filled are obedient and hold their parents in honor and respect.

The Christian home should reflect the likeness of Jesus.  Even though He is the Creator of the world He subjected Himself to Joseph and Mary in honor and obedience.  Children who are born again and are controlled by God’s Spirit are an excellent testimony of God’s power to change lives.  Children who live solely for self are not subject to anyone, not even God.  It is a sure sign, that if a child is disobedient and disrespectful to their parents, they are in the same condition with God.

The same can be said of the father who is abusive to his children, and neglects to hear their cries and hurts.  If the father provokes his children, or does not sacrificially love their mother, he is not Spirit filled or controlled.  The Spirit filled – controlled – father teaches, encourages, without downgrading his children.

The care and encouragement in the Lord is what our children need.

Living as Spirit filled Christians is about as close to heaven as we will come in this world; at least until Jesus Comes and makes all things right.  Our God has equipped us, and given us His Spirit to help us in the endeavor of living holy lives.  It is only possible as we yield our selfishness to the control and influence of His Spirit.  Yielding will bring harmony to the church, marriages, parents, and children, and in all realms of living.

The only way to Spirit filled/controlled living is through faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.

SPIRIT CONTROLLED CHRISTIANS PRACTICE THEIR GOD GIVE VOCATION (6:5-9).  Remember the Submission part; about submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God… (v. 21).  It is for the place where we are employed as well; or the place where we employ employees – as owners or boss.  When we see ourselves as the servants of Jesus Christ it will not matter what our job, but in the power of God’s Spirit will do our job “as unto the Lord.“

The word servant used here is a reference to “slaves”.  Slavery was a dominant institution during the time of Paul’s writing.  According to some the word is used in referring to involuntary or voluntary slavery.  If this means “slave”, then how can it apply to Twenty first century America?  It applies in the factories, grocery stores, farms, churches, families, government offices, Law offices, Court buildings, Police headquarters, Fire stations, Ambulance services, Hospitals, Highway/Road departments, etc., thus, everyone is an employee somewhere.  An employee must appear at work at a set time, leaves at a set time, is paid on a set day, and must work according to the employers policies; or be fired.  When you are working for someone other than yourself, you are serving someone.  In what is called service oriented businesses; even if you are “working for yourself” you are still serving others.  You may not like the term, but you are a servant to that employment – a slave.

You can talk to just about any one who works for someone else and they will often begin telling you all, or at least some of the problems of their employer.  There are a lot of people who are dissatisfied with their place of employment.  It seems to be human nature to complain, however, it is not God’s nature.

Be obedient… unto Christ (v. 5), could form the entire sentence.  Even when the boss seems to be messing up, if we are to be faithful, Spirit filled Christians we comply with his directions – as long as his directions are not immoral, or physically harmful, and/or violate your conscience.

Spirit filled Christians are different in their labor than are the rest of the laborers.  Where others complain and slack off in their work the Spirit controlled believer is thankful, and works his/her best.  Her single purpose being to glorify Jesus Christ.

The very fact that more is said in these verse cold show who the majority of Christians were in this church.  These words to encourage them in their labor.  It is Jesus for whom we labor.  The Scriptures say nothing of a division of secular and sacred.  For the Spirit filled Christian all things are done, as unto Christ.

The Spirit filled Christian employee will not serve with eyeservice; seeking the approval of the boss only when he is watching.  This term eyeservice implies only doing the work; and maybe even with a little more effort; when being watched.  Many people who are of the world work one way when no one is watching and a completely other way when they know they are being watched.  To please the boss (while he is watching) could mean a promotion, they think.

It is the will of God that Christians do their work heartily as the servants of Christ .  The work of the Christian is not to please men, but to glorify their Lord.  Those Christians who do their work unto the Lord will recrive eternal rewards from Christ (Colossians 3:24).  This is not unto salvation but rewards which glorify our Lord.

Doing a job cheerfully can be contagious.  Others see you working, and enjoying the work of your Lord, and it begins to rub off on others.  What kind of witness is it to be sour and complaining about low pay, no benefits, poor work environment, and whatever other complaints there are?  I heard Elisabeth Elliot say, “If you aren’t doing the work you like, then, like the work you do.”  We  can only learn to like it by seeing that  our true Master is our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Verse 8 is the link to what has just been said.  If  there is anyone who has doubt that this idea of servanthood is not relevant for our day, Paul includes, “Whether he be bond or free”.  In other wards the principles given are for all Christians, and for all ages.

When we go to a place for employment we are subjecting ourselves to their rule of practice and operation.  We voluntarily become a bond-slave to our employer with the understanding we are being  paid for what we do, and at an agreed upon wage.  However, if we expect to be paid, the employer expects good work.

The good work that Christian employee does, along with a joyful and giving attitude, is a witness to everyone around, including the boss.  God promises reward to those who serve the Lord in this way.

When it is said and done we are all bond-slaves to someone or something.  There are some who are slaves to sin and obey its every craving and desire.  The Christian, however, is free from sin, and is a bond-slave to Christ, because he was redeemed with the purchase price of the shed blood of Jesus (Romans 6:14-18).

The Christianity part does not lay on the employee alone; that is the responsibility of every Christian employee and employer.  We look now at the duties of the Christian employer, Business owner, Supervisor, Boss; let’s also keep in mind 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  We are all subjects of Christ.

The “master”  is to do service to the servant, “as unto the Lord”.  Paying a wage that enables the servant to have a life supporting his family and providing for their health needs.  This is speaking of the Christian employer.

For the “master” he is to do it as a servant of Christ.  Not beating, nor threatening, but encouraging.  The “master” realizing that he too has a Master “in heaven”.

The Master in heaven has no “respect of persons”, but every one of His children are equal in His sight; receiving from Him according to their need.  The master/employer should  treat his employees equally according to their needs and abilities.

When Christians are filled with the Spirit they will be the best employees an employer can find, for they see that they are servants.  Servants not of their employer, but of Christ, who is Master over all.

The Christian [Spirit controlled] employer will give the best of care to his employees, because he realizes he has a Master, and when the employees are respected and blessed by their employer they will give more of themselves without complaining.

Wouldn’t it be great if employers were always on the look out for Christian employees because every Christian  who cam to work for them was a hard and joyous worker?

Wouldn’t it be great if the Christian employer was gracious and took care of his employees, and his employees loved him and because of his generosity worked their best for him?

We give evidences of the filling of the Spirit of God by these things which the apostle has written.  Husbands and wives submitting to one another, respecting one another’s place filled by God;  Children loving and respecting their parents, obeying them and parents filled with the Spirit correcting their children with love;  Servants/Employees be submitted to their bosses; Christian employers/bosses/business owners submitted to the servant.  As Christians we must remember we are to be submitted one to another.  See the other as better than ourselves and seek others well being.  This is a practicing, active, living Christianity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Quickly Perishing

When I look at our society today I see so many who are quickly perishing, and are completely unaware of it. Why do I say they are unaware of it? They live as though there was no end. They live as though there is no God. They live as though they will answer to no one.

We are all fickle at times. We can so easily be led astray, be deceived and deluded. There is something we all must realize and that is, that, there is more to life, than “Me”. “Me” will one day end, and then what. Hear what the apostle Peter has written,

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV).

It is a terrible thing for man who is quickly perishing to give so much confidence and power to things which we cannot take with us. I heard the story of a woman who was married to a wealthy man, on his death bed, who wasn’t leaving anything to her, and wanted it all cashed out before he died and, then, put into his coffin with him at his burial. She went and cashed everything out, and the day of the funeral put a box in the coffin before they closed the lid. A friend who was with her asked, “What was in the box?”, and she proceeded to tell her of her deceased husband’s request, and that she had placed it in the box. She went on to say, “I deposited the money in my checking account, and wrote him a check. Now he can cash it any time he chooses.”

Any one with any sense knows when you die, that, silver, gold, or paper money will be of no service to you. It too will rot, rust, decay, and one day blow away in the wind with the rest of the dust.

There is only the “word of the Lord” that endures for ever, and that will be in the lives of those who put their faith and trust in Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection. “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89). Those who will come to God the Father through God the Son will have an eternity with Him in glory. Call on His name today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Reckoning In Stewardship

Matthew 25:14-30

We live in an era of time where traveling is rather easy, spontaneous, and quick in arriving at our destinations; at least compared to the days Jesus walked as a man with us. This story should be one of familiarity with our day. It is, however, a story of our Lord and Savior, His departure into the heavenlies, leaving with us His power, presence, and glory to share with others.

“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” Matthew 25:14 (KJV)

Jesus the King of kings descended in the incarnation of a new born babe, laid in a manger, and revealed to the lowest, common people, shepherds, and finally to the “wise men” who came from the East. Jesus grew as a child just as any child, yet He never sinned. Yes, that means that He faithfully obeyed His mother and adopted father [Joseph], and without so much as a whimper.

This child became a man who was called liar, deceiver, healer, king, physician, etc.. This man was sent by the Father in heaven to be the propitiation for the sins of mankind. He is the justifier. He is the Savior. He went to the cross bearing the sins of all the world. He not only bore our sins, but bore the wrath of God’s judgment upon sin. I am not sure many realize the tremendous pain, spiritual darkness, agony, and the rejection of God the Father. Why do I call these things to our remembrance? To get us where we are going.

When Jesus was with the disciples He told them that He would go away, and a Comforter would come (John 14:15-26; 16:5-16). Our Lord when He ascended (Acts 1) left with us His Spirit who should up in power on the day of “Pentecost” (Acts 2), and empowered the Church to do His work on earth. The goods which our Lord left us was the work of the ministry, the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the only true change effect in the world.

“And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” Matthew 25:15 (KJV)

There was a period of time when dealing with spiritual gifts were a hot subject within many local churches. It should still be a matter of church operation, and it is a means of keeping church unity. When all members know their ministry; their task, and do it with all their heart; they will not be jumping into another area attempting to drive others to do their will. When the child of God is living by the Spirit of God, filled with the Spirit, performing their spiritual gift by the Spirit, then there will not be so many complications, combat situations, and/or beaten and defeated church members.

As Christians we have not only been given spiritual gifts, but we have also been entrusted with much material goods in this world as well. Just as we are STEWARDS of the spiritual gifts given us by God; as He has seen fit; so too, have we had distributed to our care material things to use as God would lead us. In this world, and particularly in the United States of America, all have been richly blessed. Even the poorest of the poor of all USA citizens would be counted wealthy in some parts of the world, just simply because they live here. Among Christians God has distributed wealth as he sees fit. In our verse above, Jesus says, “… to every man according to his several ability…”. Paul the apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 12:11,

“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:11 (KJV)

We can see by this that the Lord is the one who has that determining wisdom to distribute as He pleases. It is not as the servants please. In the world of humanity there are some who can handle wealth, use it wisely, invest it wisely, and grow that small portion they were given. Though it is not said in this text the willful giving of the STEWARD is wise in sharing it with the less fortunate.

Some people are going to start crying “Well God is not fair”. Who are we to determine fairness? God has been accused of being unfair since the fall of man, and nothing has changed since then. Hear the cries of the people to whom Ezekiel preached, “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?…’Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?” Ezekiel 18:25, 29 (KJV). The Creator of the universe has the authority, and all rights to distribute gifts and material things as He so pleases.

With great expectations we look for His soon return. Looking for that soon return means we are to be, and ought to be ever faithful in the tasks He has given us.

“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.” Matthew 25:16-18 (KJV)

Looking at the three above servants we see them go to immediate action. At least that seems implied. Their lord left, and left them in charge of these talents, or material wealth. The idea of the lord was that when he returned he would receive gain from what he had left them. He gives them no indication as to when he will return, but that he will return is understood.

One question that came to my mind in looking at this story is, “How well am I handling the goods which my Lord has left me?” I fear sometimes not too well. My salvation is secure through the blood of Jesus Christ, but my works for His kingdom and glory pale in comparison to His mighty work in me and for me.

The first servant was given “five talents” and went and did business with the same. It could have been the “Stockmarket” of the day, and he invested wisely, and this tells me that God and His Son Jesus are in favor of wise investing in material things; but I do want to emphasize “Wise Investing“. The lottery and gambling of any form is not investing. A home or house, land, business [legal and legitimate business], and others are good investments most of the time. This first servant doubled his talents.

The second servant was given “two talents”, and he also doubled his gifts. Now that is pretty wise investing. That is what God would have us do, realizing where we got it all in the first place.

The third servant who received only “one talent” probably thought, “What’s the use? It’s so little it will never amount to anything. So, I will just bury it in the ground”. If he had no personal use for it, then why did he not take it and do something with it; put it to work. You could say this is one example of someone being a double servant. This man was servant to the lord who left him with the talent, and he was also servant to the single talent. The servant let the minute amount he had determine his actions, rather than do something which would increase it.

What a blessing to use what God has given us and be blessed in seeing it used for the glory of His name. Whether it is spiritual gifts, or material things both have been left to us as the STEWARDS of God, to increase His kingdom, His glory, His power, and bring many lost souls into His kingdom.

“After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents” Matthew 25:19-28 (KJV)

The lord has been away for some time, and he returns to find some to bless, commend, and give. These servants appear before their lord with what they have done while he was away.

Everyone is a STEWARD of what they have. It has been given by God to all human beings to be STEWARDS of this planet and creation. It has also been given us, by God, to be STEWARDS of the blessings of this life. The problem arises when mankind has chosen to rebel against God, and chose to go his/her own way. Though mankind is basically in rebellion against God we are all still STEWARDS of all created things. We are not doing real well, mostly due to the sin condition in the hearts of all humanity.

Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden the devil has had a hand in disguising his plans and purposes, and making them appear to be man’s and usually for the evil of the planet, mankind, and the universe.

There is coming a day of RECKONING. A day when all will give an account of their lives, and what they have done with what they have. We are not responsible for what we do not possess, but we are responsible for what we touch, and control. We are responsible for our personal relationship with the Lord. We are responsible for our sins. We are responsible for our family’s well being. We are responsible for our neighbors well being. We are responsible as citizens of the town, State, and Nation in which we live. We are responsible, and an give an account for every word we speak – good or bad. Here in the United States we have been given much, and with much comes much responsibility, and accountability.

Notice the justness of the lord. He tells the servant whom he had given “five talents”, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”. He was a responsible and good STEWARD with what he had been entrusted, and he was rewarded for his STEWARDSHIP. The servant who had received “two talents” was told, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”. He too was rewarded for his faithful STEWARDSHIP. The third servant was foolish with what he had received and buried it in the ground, and gaining nothing. It could give reference to Jesus’s words, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” Matthew 5:15-16 (KJV). This servant took what he had been given and hid it, buried it in the ground to rot, rust and/or decay. Could it be correct to say, “A gift unused is a gift abused”?

Let’s look at this third servant for a moment. What has been given him? An opportunity to expand his life’s work, and mostly that of his lord. An opportunity to do well for his family, yet he has shunned his gift. According to Jesus the words for him is, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents”. “Wicked and slothful servant…” those would be sad words indeed to hear from the mouth of our Lord. We must understand something, and that is that what we have been given; we have not earned; it is a gift. This life is a gift. Every breath we breathe is a gift. Every beat of our heart is a gift. What do we do with what we have? The “wicked and slothful” servant lost what he had hid in the ground, and it was given to the one who had been given the “ten talents”.

I can almost hear, “Well, that just ain’t fair.” “That’s not right.” “That’s not fair.” According to whom? You. Are you the one who determines what is fair, just or right in this world. If I were the owner of a large ranch or farm and hired people would I not have the right as the owner to pay what was fair and agreed on by all who work for me. I could pay according to what I saw in the individual. Much work and done well would warrant that I pay well. Little work, and work done without care, and done badly would warrant little pay, and maybe even firing. That may not be right for a nation which has labor laws, minimum wages, and laws which govern wages; but it is so in a land that is truly free.

Our God is just, right and good, and He will judge, and award as He sees fit. He will award those who will be faithful STEWARDS of what He has given. The first and greatest thing He has given is salvation in His Son Jesus Christ. What will you do with Jesus?

“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:29-30 (KJV)

Some may like to think that there is no eternal punishment. Go ahead and think that if you must. You are not in agreement with God and His Word, therefore you are sadly mistaken. God has given an eternal soul to all mankind, and the Revelation says, speaking of those who are without faith in Christ, “There was found no place for them…” (Revelation 20:11), meaning no place in the presence of God; no place in heaven; no place in the glory of God. There is only one place and that place is the place Jesus Himself describes as the place “…where the fire is no quenched, and the worm dieth not” (Mark 9:44-48), and Jesus says in the above verse, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” If this is not an eternal place, then, tell me why is there “weeping and gnashing of teeth”?

Could someone say, “Well this only proves that we can never really know if we are saved,” or someone else might say, “Doesn’t this prove that we could lose our salvation?” Not at all. It proves that true believers will be faithful STEWARDS of grace, salvation, and good works. It proves that we have a Savior who never breaks a promise. He will complete what He has begun. A false faith – faith built on show, pretense, or hypocrisy; faith not on Jesus Christ will not save you. a false hope – hope without the promises of God; will not save you. The faithful STEWARDS of the grace of Jesus Christ will endure to the end, and be saved by the cross of Jesus Christ.

Jesus’s description of hell, “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” is probably the most accurate description we have ever heard. Do you know that Jesus warned more about hell, than he spoke of heaven? Do you know that He went to the cross in order to save all those who will believe in Him from their sins which causes them to go there. Open rebellion against God is rejecting the only means of salvation He has offered to us; and that is the cross of Christ, His burial, and His resurrection. Do not rebel against Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Jesus and Politics

There is a whole lot of politics going on. You know the idea, and ask the question, “How do you know a politician is lying?” The answer is… I will let you know a little later. That almost sounds like a good answer. That is not it, however.

How should Christians who are ‘followers of Jesus Christ’ be involved in politics, or should they be? Jesus said, “Render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. It seems you could get a clear and distinct answer of being involved from that statement, “Render to Caesar…” When we are citizens of a Nation which has a democratic process of elections, then, we should participate in those elections and let our vote and voice be heard.

Should Christians try to get moral legislation for that Nation? That may be a little stickier. As Christians we understand that morality, nor legislation is going to change a nation. A nation changes as the hearts of the people are changed. That works in the positive and the negative. If the life changing message of the Gospel of Jesus is received by the populace, then there will be a positive change of hearts. If, on the other hand, society begins to turn more and more away from God, His Word, equal justice for all, giving of their resources to others in need, and morality, then there is the negative change and evil will increase. The streets will be filled with crimes such as street shootings, school shootings, robberies – banks, convenience stores, jewelry stores, churches, etc. Husbands killing wives, wives killing husbands, parents killing children, children killing parents, co-habitations, and all kinds of immoral sexual behavior.

Christians must have a voice, and that voice is in their church buildings and in the voting booth, and in the public forum. Christian, you have the right to vote: Use it or lose it.

I was behind a car from New Hampshire on the afternoon of Friday October 27, 2006 in Cassville, Missouri. I noticed something about that plate and the motto on the plate. It read, “LIVE FREE, OR DIE”. I thought when I saw it, “Now who ever came up with that one had a bold thought”. As long as you and I have the freedom to vote we have a say in the way things are run in our country.

If we get to trusting in the political process to save our Nation we are doomed. In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ it speaks of a woman riding a beast. That woman represents religion, and the beast is – I believe – democratic government. I must say, has not religion in recent years been riding the beast of democracy? What follows is not pretty.

The Gospel of Jesus will change hearts and lives. No political process can do that. Legislate as you will.

Now to answer the question at the beginning. Their mouth is moving. But, you probably already knew that.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Allegiance, License, and Legalism

ALLEGIANCE, LICENSE, AND LEGALISM

Matthew 5:17-20

We hear quite often that since Christ came, died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, and we put our trust and faith in Him we can live without the law. That seems to be growing in popularity. Let me add here that there are sins which the law of God does not directly address, but they are sins. When you live in a society where the drinking of alcoholic beverage is more than tolerated, but almost admired, and when you are encouraged to drink it when you are watching the television through the commercials, then, it is time to stand and say this is wicked, vile, and evil. When the society we live in practically worships sexuality, and indecent, adulterous, promiscuous sexual conduct; then, it is also time to declare to the world and society that pornography is wicked, and rebellion against God.

There are those in Christian circles who say to us, “We are free in Christ”. I would be the first to admit our freedom in Christ. However, that term freedom in Christ is too often taken our of the Biblical context. It has absolutely nothing to do with ‘Freedom to sin’; it has everything to do with living Christ like, holy, righteous, undefiled lives; it is, in fact, the “Freedom to live for Christ”. Being no longer against Him, but with Him how can any child of God believe that freedom to be freedom to live in absolut rebellion to His holiness.

Do we discount the law, especially because according to Jesus He did not come to destroy them, but to fulfill them? Did He fulfill them? Yes!!! Does that means we are unaccountable to the law?

Let me give the definition of the three basic words of our title. They all will be addressed in this message

 

ANTINO’MIAN

, a. [Gr. against, and law.] Against law; pertaining to the Antinomians.

ANTINO’MIAN

, n. One of a sect who maintain, that, under the gospel dispensation, the law is of no use or obligation; or who hold doctrines which supersede the necessity of good works and a virtuous life. This sect originated with John Agricola about the year 1538. OLD WEBSTER DICTIONARY e-Sword.

ALLE’GIANCE

 

, n. [L. alligo, of ad and ligo, to bind. See Liege and League.]

The tie or obligation of a subject to his Prince or government; the duty of fidelity to a king, government or state. Every native or citizen owes allegiance to the government under which he is born. This is called natural or implied allegiance, which arises from the connection of a person with the society in which he is born, and his duty to be a faithful subject, independent of any express promise. Express allegiance, is that obligation which proceeds from an express promise, or oath of fidelity.

Local or temporary allegiance is due from an alien to the government or state in which he resides. OLD WEBSTER DICTIONARY From e-Sword.

Legalism

 

Strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to the religious or moral code. THE MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

The reason I use the word ‘antinomian’ above is because that is the word which best describes the lawless. The ones who want us to believe that we are above the law, because we have been saved through faith in Jesus.

If we are Christian, ie., ‘Christlike’, then we must behave like Jesus. That would mean fulfilling the law. He tells us, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.” We must put on a DEFINITE SPIRITUAL ALLEGIANCE to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Law and the Prophets is clearly the Old Testament Scriptures. It is the only Scriptures the people of Jesus’s day and the apostles had to read. It was the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah’s prophecy Jesus read from the day He declared Himself as having come. We often on certain occasions Pledge Allegiance to our Flag – the flag of the United States of America. When we talk of pledging allegiance to our Lord, we get to thinking it too costly. We owe fidelity to our King – King Jesus and His government. We were born under His government, thus, allegiance is owed to Him. When we received the covenant of salvation and baptism we pledged our allegiance to Him and His laws.

Jesus continues, then, by saying, “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (NKJV). These laws are for the moral good of our society. It seems to be also, that, though there are not direct applications to certain aspects of sin having to do with certain societies, there is still an application of the morality God’s law establishes. Anything that is harmful to our fellow human being, fitting into the final six of the Ten Commandments, would be a violation of the law. There are some who will tell us, “If it is not directly named and forbiden by the law, then we cannot call it sin”. There are many sins not directly mentioned or named and forbidden in the Bible. Consider for example, pornography, gambling, beverage alcohol, and though it is mentioned in the Bible as sin this one is often overlooked, and that is gluttony. We live in a society which practically endorses these behaviors, yet they are clearly harmful to all those who practice them. The first three mentioned can and do destroy peoples homes; spouses, children, jobs; now someone please tell me I am being legalistic because of my concern for the destruction of homes and families. It is sin to destroy your home, because of your participation in these acts; thus I have no problem calling them sin. Does the fact of Jesus fulfilling the law mean that the law is disabled?

Jesus says, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Are we saved by the obedience to the law? Paul the apostle wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV). The law has been fulfilled, thus it lives in our changed hearts and lives. Our desire is no longer to follow the passions of lust, ie., the lusts and passions of the sinful world. We are free to follow the passions of Jesus. Jesus’s passion was to die for our sins. He calls His followers to “Take up your cross, and follow Me”. When He took up His cross it led to His death. Our cross leads to our death to sin; not to bask or relish in sins supposed, and short lived pleasures.

The words of Jesus in finishing this on the law are these; “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” v. 20 (NKJV). I have previously written of Matthew 23:3 where Jesus tells his listeners to do what they teach, but do not follow their works. These religious leaders were hypocrites. A hypocrite is an individual who pretends to be what they are not. There are far too many of these in churches today, because the local congregations have grown lax in thier discipleship, teaching and training, doctrine, and law of God, and the prophets. We applaud the works of people rather than the work of Christ. We fail to correct false teaching, and allow it to grow into a cancerous, disgusting, putrid, stink. We have failed to see the nation of Israel as our example; especially for the individual Christian. Every action of the nation of Israel and their departure from God can happen to the individual Christian. Just as God has chastised the Nation, and continues to do so; He also will discipline the individual who runs astray from God, His Word, His law, and the prophets; and away from God’s will.

The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was a self-earned righteousness. Their self-righteousness was a stench in the nasal passages of God (See Isaiah 64:6). They only supposed they had reached the level of the righteous God, but actually had failed, and prided themselves in their greatness. That shows you and I the truth of what the apostle Paul said to the church of Ephesus, “…Not of works, lest anyone should boast”. The only righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees is the righteousness which God ascribes to us; and that is the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, which we receive when we have by faith been transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. Without His righteousness there is no entering the kingdom of heaven.

Allegiance to Jesus Christ should be our only allegiance with eternal gain, and realize that our allegiance to our Nation is for the purpose of ascribing the worth of Jesus Christ in all that we do. The only license we have from God is by faith through Christ to live for Him, to glorify Him, to show forth the name of Jesus in all our work, and play. The life of the Christian is not “License” to sin, but license to live for Christ. As Christians we are to promote and encourage a life of holiness, righteousness, justice, and walk humbly with our Lord (See Micah 6:8); and as teachers and leaders of such; practice these things ourselves. Not to earn salvation, but because of salvation. Let me reemphasize that legalism is requiring more for salvation than grace. It is not legalism to expect, to teach, and require holiness in the people who follow Jesus. Much of the charges of legalism that is being thrown around today is only further license to sin in the name of “Freedom” or “Liberty” in the name of Christ. We are called to call harmful acts of behavior SIN. I say that any action which does not glorify Jesus Christ is an act of sin. I am in great need, and have received that grace which I need for life and living. How about you?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Doing The Word of God

Knowing the Mission and Purpose of the King

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto Him, Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Matthew 11:1-6 (KJV)

In chapter ten Jesus has sent His disciples out to minister the Word of God and declare the message of the King. In the first verse of this chapter we find Jesus preaching and ministering alone. He has given commandment and sends the twelve out. In the first verse we are told, “He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. “Their cities” would be speaking of the cities of those He had just sent, of course.

John the Baptist, a prophet truly in the Old Testament sense, would know the message of the prophets. He knows, especially the ones of the coming Messiah. He, being a man, and a sinner like the rest of us would have had some preconceived notions concerning the Messiah; somewhat like his Jewish teachers. For instance he must have believed that the Messiah was going to come and free the nation of Israel from Roman rule. These preconceived notions would cause him to doubt. Preconceived notions of Scripture will cause doubt.

The Baptist has been imprisoned for his faithfulness to God’s call. He preached telling Herod he should not have his brothers wife (Matthew 4:12; 14:3-12). John’s notion was most likely that Jesus as the King of the Jews would set up His kingdom. His assumption was correct, however, his timing was millenniums away; ie., His earthly kingdom.

Since John was imprisoned he was unable to question Jesus personally and sends his disciples. He is showing faith by sending his disciples, and by seeking confirmation. An understanding of Jesus’s mission and ministry would end the doubt and the confusion for John.

To know our own mission and ministry for Christ will give us peace of mind. Every individual believer, every church needs a mission and purpose for being, and we find that in Jesus Christ, and His Word.

John’s question is one we could probably ask at times. “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Can we truly understand John’s dilemma? I think so. When he has been believing that he was preaching the way of the Messiah, then, he winds up in lock up, because he preached against Herod’s adultery, he is surely wondering, “Have I been preaching the right stuff? Is this man whom I have proclaimed really the One?” By his faith, he sends his disciples to ask Him. He did not send them to ask the religious leaders. He knew the answer he would get there. He believed Jesus would be the only one who would have the correct answer. He must have trusted, by what he had seen and heard, that Jesus was truthful, and that His word could be trusted. Jesus would not lie about His own identity. Sometimes doubt is a sign of growth, if you are really seeking the truth. Was this man, Jesus, the Messiah; the long awaited One by the Jews?

The question asked by John, which was born of doubt is answered by Jesus. To answer, Jesus had only to use the Old Testament Scripture. When Jesus gave them the words of Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:4-6; 61:1-2a John would be satisfied with the answer, and the doubt was resolved. Being a prophet he would have been very acquainted with these verses, which are prophecies of the Messiah. He would trust the Scriptures in the identity of Jesus, and the evidence that He gave as well. The evidence was what Scriptures said the Messiah would do, and Jesus was doing it.

The mission of Jesus was to help the afflicted. Those who were afflicted physically, economically and spiritually were aided and blessed by the touch of Jesus. The works He performed were evidence of who He is/was. We must keep in mind that the works we perform are a testimony of who we are. The power Christians have over man made religion is a living Savior who overcame the power of sin. Man made religion binds men to man made laws. Christians are not bound to law, but to the One who fulfilled the law, thus, able to live His life.

John knowing the Prophets and their prophecies recognized the mission of Jesus when it was told to him. Jesus’s ministry was to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). His ministry was one of offense. He touched the unclean and the defiled. He ministered to “Tax collectors and sinners”, and that offended the religious leaders. He rebuked the religious establishment and their self-righteousness.

The King’s mission was to die, that all who repent and believe could be saved. The ultimate goal of King Jesus was/is to fulfill all the Word of God.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

What Do You See???

What Do You See?

The prophet has seen the “Rod of the almond tree”, and it was the message from God that He was going to bring His Word to pass very quickly. The seeing of the “Rod…” itself is the sign of discipline and judgment. It can also be a sign of protection, if you are on the right side of it.

The LORD asked Jeremiah again, “What do you see?” Jeremiah 1:13 (NKJV), and the prophet says, “I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north”. A “boiling pot” is a hot matter. It has taken some time for the contents of the pot to come to the point of boiling.

At the time of Jeremiah it has basically been many, many years that the people of Israel and of Judah have grown cold to the Lord and His Word. They have turned a deaf ear to the meaning of their sabbath days, holy days, their feasts, and have in fact turned their hearts toward other gods.

Their comforts, their riches, their houses and their lands are of more importance and they care more for those things than for others, or God.

For many years in our own Nation of the United States of America many professing Christians have grown more concerned with their health, wealth, houses, cars, and lands, than they have with being holy, righteous, and the care of our poorer brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a ‘Boiling pot’ that is ready to be spilled on us. It may be in the form of a collapsed economy; is that laughable? You may have the first laugh, but God will have the final one. People are dollaring themselves right out of their new and older homes.

The ‘Boiling pot’ may not be coming from our North, but it is coming from the thing which Americans fear the most. What is that? Economic collapse. For too long people and even Christians have put their hope in the economy being good, when it has basically been built on nothing visible, but the invisible value of their home. It should really just be called ‘Their house’, because to many it is just an investment, and they have placed the value of their lives in the value of their house. May God help us, and forgive us.

God says to the prophet, “Out of the North calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land”. Jeremiah 1:14 (NKJV). When people turn their backs on God, and turn to their own means, comfort, health, wealth, and security, then is when the water in the pot begins to boil. It has been boiling now for many years. Let’s repent of our deeds and turn to the LORD.

The Lord Our Strength

THE LORD OUR STRENGTH

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11).

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30).

This is the fourth and final commandment having to do with our relationship with God. It is important to have this relationship. We are born into this world with that relationship in deadness. There is no spiritual heart for God. The law is pure evidence that this is so. There is no human being who has obeyed the law of God completely, except the Son of God Himself – Jesus Christ.

In the first commandment God says, “Thou shalt have no other gods”, and the title of the first article was, A REQUIRED HEART OF DEVOTION which says that the heart of the person of God is devoted solely to Him. The second commandment says, “Thou shalt not make any graven image…”, and the title of that article is THE SOUL SEEKS FOR GOD, because it is in every man to worship something, but due to sin is always looking in the wrong place, except by the grace of God and His calling unto Himself. The third commandment says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain…”, and the article is titled SPEAKING FROM THE MIND, because the mind that is not given to God will use God’s name vainly, emptily. The final commandment of the four dealing with our God relationship says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy….”, and the title is THE LORD OUR STRENGTH.

We will look at four things in this article;

I. THE SABBATH DAY OF GOD (Genesis 2:1-3).

II. THE SABBATH DAY COMMANDMENT (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

III. THE SABBATH DAY AND THE CHRISTIAN (Hebrews 4:1-10).

IV. THE SABBATH AS A SHADOW (Colossians 2:16-17).

In the first place the Sabbath was initiated by God after the sixth day of creation when His work was finished. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3). In creation God established a work cycle for mankind. Contrary to some beliefs work is not a part of the curse. Laziness is a sin and is a part of the curse. God made it where every hard working person would have a day of rest and worship. It is still necessary to have a day to rest and to worship the Lord our God. It is a shame on our society in which people work seven days a week and never give God a thought. The only god some people worship is the “Greenback” which can do absolutely nothing for peace or joy.

Secondly, The children of Israel were commanded to honor/remember the Sabbath day, “Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). God gave them laws which told them if they did not rest and worship Him, then they would die, and do so by stoning, “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Numbers 15:32-36). For Israel it was a day for renewing their strength after six days of laboring, and for worshipping God. The Christian is not bound by this commandment. We find our strength and rest in Him. He is in fact our rest and strength. That does not mean that we are to forsake the day of worship. It does mean that our worship is to be everyday, and when we join with our brothers and sisters on Sundays to lift up the name of our Lord and Savior, and God.

Thirdly, the Christian and the Sabbath is shown us in Hebrews 4:1-11. There we are told, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, Today, after so long a time; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief…”. Because Jesus fulfilled this and all the law by His complete and perfect obedience to God, His Father, we are privileged and honored to join together on the first day of the week to do so, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7). “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6). The reason we worship on Sunday is because of the fulfillment and completion of the law in Christ Jesus and His resurrection on Sunday morning. The Christian’s rest is in Jesus Christ, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). Jesus said this before He died and was buried and rose again. That means it was so in the beginning as well.

In the final point, the Sabbath can be seen as a shadow or type of something better. The lamb without spot or blemish was a shadow/type of Jesus the true sacrificial Lamb. The Sabbath is only a shadow of better things. The sabbath of the law condemns us all. As it is fulfilled in Christ it gives rest for all eternity. Jesus Christ is the anti-type; He is the genuine article; He is the True. He is the total fulfillment of the law. He is our strength. Giving your life to Jesus is giving your life to “ceasing from your own works” and trusting in Him.

The law [all of it] was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, not nullified. To worship Him on the first day of the week is to say we have ceased from our own labor of keeping the law and we rest in Him.

The King…and His Coming

The King, Persecution, and His Coming

“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.” Matthew 10:21-23 (KJV)

These verses seem to allude to an eschatological meaning. Especially with the last part of the twenty third verse saying, “till the Son of man be come”. He is the one saying it, so must surely be speaking of His “coming again”, because while He speaks it His presence is without question. So in these times called the “latter times” or “Last days” we again must be diligent, and vigilant about living the gospel and proclaiming the gospel in our everyday lives.

When brothers, fathers, parents turn against us and our faith in Christ we must remain firm in Christ. It is hard to imagine but there are many stories of individuals who have been saved out of Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam, only to be shunned by their family, lose their jobs, even stoned by family members. This form of persecution is happening today in many parts of the world. A Christian brother by the name of Salim suffered rejection from his family after he received Jesus Christ as his savior, and he and his wife have been persecuted by beatings. Family members turning against their child because they have chosen to love Jesus.

MacArthur Study Bible on:

  • 24:13 endure to the end…be saved. Cf. 10:22. The ones who persevere are the same ones who are saved –not the ones whose love grows cold (v. 12). This does not suggest that our perseverance secures our salvation. Scripture everywhere teaches precisely the opposite: God, as part of His saving work, secures our perseverance. True believers are “are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation” (1 Peter 1:5)”

We have tended to get a little ahead of ourselves in some missions causes. We are sending missionaries to hostile lands, and I am not persuaded that that is a good policy. We have Jesus telling us, “When they persecute you in this city, flee ye to another.” I am not certain that my thinking is correct on this, but when we send missionaries into a hostile environment we are violating their laws; and just what does that say to the leaders of that Country? This is something Missions Boards and agencies need to be in earnest prayer about, and the lives of those that we send. Is there an open door if we enter it when they are hostile to what we are proclaiming? Is God really leading us to a place where the message of Christ is not welcomed? That seems to be what Jesus is referring to earlier (Matthew 7:6) about casting pearls before swine, and giving what is holy to dogs.

This calling of being a missionary to go into foreign lands requires much prayer, discernment, dedication and diligence to follow God’s direction. Though this does seem to be linked to the latter days, and the time near the second coming of the Lord Jesus, it is practical advice for the Christian disciple today as well. The time of His coming is near; nearer than ever before. No call to follow Jesus as a disciple should ever be taken lightly. The cost of following Jesus, until He comes, is your life.