Captain of Our Salvation

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?
For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.  But one in a certain place testified, saying,
‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visited him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of Your hands: You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’
For in that He put all in subjection under him, he left nothing not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

‘I will declare your name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto you.’

And again,

‘I will put my trust in Him.’

And again,

‘Behold I and the children which God has given Me.’

Since then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.  For verily He took not on angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham.  Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to rescue them that are tempted.”  Hebrews 2:1-18

REFERENCES: Numbers 15:30; Matthew 4:17; 28:10, 18; Luke 1:2, 74; Mark 16:20; Psalm 22:22; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54

Blessed By The Presence

“And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.” 2 Samuel 6:11 (KJB)

When God is present in an individual’s life that individual is blessed by God.  When that person is blessed by God their whole family is also blessed by Him.

The ark of the covenant was the presence of God as Israel journeyed through the wilderness for forty years.  Is still, during David’s reign, as David conquers Jerusalem, and calls it the “City of David”.

I do not know about you but I enjoy, appreciated, and I am thankful everyday for the blessings of God.  What we must love though is not the blessings, but the Blesser.

Kind David, in a hurry, decided to move the ark to Jerusalem, and did not seek out the proper mode of transportation.  He chose rather to move it the same way it was moved the last time it was moved; and that was the Philistine way – on a cart pulled by cows (1 Samuel 6:4-12).  God’s people must always seek to do things in God’s prescribed order.  Because of David’s grave error Uzzah died.

Until David discovered the God-way of moving the ark Obed-Edom and his family were greatly blessed by God’s presence.

The ark is a material object made of wood and gold, with the mercy seat resting atop it made of solid gold.  The wood represents the perfect, sinless, guiltless man, and the gold is a picture of His Deity.  It is an Old Testament picture or type of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  And HIs presence among His people.

When Jesus came and gave Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world, paying our sin debt to God, He has made it possible for Adamkind to be in the very presence of God, and He with us.  Every moment of every day He is present with us.

Be blessed by the presence of God in your life through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is God the Son.

Serve the LORD Only

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 5 – 7…

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’
Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.” 1 Samuel 7:3-4 (KJB)

When a people group or one person get away from God that group or person needs to return to the Lord.  The people of Israel had drifted away from God and worshiped false gods of the people of the land that they had won.

These were snares and thorns to their lives; from loving God the LORD, and being blessed by Him.  There is no mixing of…

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Christmas Day 2016

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want every Christian to remember this is another Lord’s Day, not unlike any other; it is only as special as we ourselves make it; if we honor, praise and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ only today we do nothing more than slap His face, and stomp His shed blood in the ground, and make it of no affect in our lives or the lives of others;  Remember Christians that He came as a Baby in a manger, in order to die for our sins, and He desires your love, worship and praise 365 – 366 days every year.

I want you to have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, but it will only be so if you love Him and live for Him everyday of the year.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galations 4:4-5 (KJV)

Christmas Day 2 (Christmas Day)

What do I want for Christmas today?

Welcome to Christmas Eve.

I want all who have visited this site, to have a wonderful Eve before the day we remember our Savior’s birth; to love your family, friends, neighbors, and that would include those who you may not have been kind to yesterday;  I want to be sure and tell everyone I meet… MERRY CHRISTMAS

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name JESUS.” Matthew 1:18-25 (KJV)

Christmas Day Eighty and Five

What do I want for Christmas today?

Since it is the LORD’S Day I want to go to worship the LORD God, through the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God Jesus Christ; with the saints of God in our house of worship; and by His grace, help and strength I will not forsake the assembling of myself with others, as is the manner of some, but will exhort, and be exhorted by others; especially as I see the day of our Lord’s coming drawing near.

See Hebrews 10:25.

Christmas Day Ninety and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want everything I say and do today to be for the honor and glory and praise of God my Savior Jesus Christ; and for others to come to Him.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:23 (NKJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day Two Hundred and One

Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to worship the Lord my God, know Him, and love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength; that I will serve Him faithfully; that the word of God be my source of fuel/food each day, all day; to stand against the enemy of God and His Word.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Christmas Day Two Hundred Fifty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

It is the wonderful LORD’S Day once again.  I want to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, that He truly might be glorified in our worship today; and everyday. May my life; the way I walk, the way I talk, be seen as worshiping Him.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Ninety and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

On this LORD’S Day I want the peace of God to reign in the hearts of God’s children around the world as we go to our respective churches, and worship the Lord together in Spirit and in Truth.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” John 4:23-24

Day Three Hundred Thirty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

This being the Lord’s Day and Christians around the world will be gathering to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His soon coming:

I want my heart, and your heart to be directed to the Word of God; that our hearts be inclined to His Word, and testimonies, His precepts, and His ordinances; that our hearts be turned away from covetousness, and toward the Lord Himself.

Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.” Psalm 119:36-37 (NKJV)

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 360

What do I want for Christmas?

I want for all those who call themselves Christians to see God for who the Scriptures say He is, and not who they make him out to be by their own emotion, will, or personal design.  For in doing the latter they make God in their own image, which is a false worship.

The Scripture says,

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. ” Genesis 1:1

“And God said, Let Us make man in our image, after our likeness…” 1:26a

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”  1:27

 

The Children’s Crumbs Under the Table

There is a need for genuine faith. The faith that trust the Lord, and no one, or nothing else. The faith that a Christian has is not based on assumptions, or myth, but substance and evidence provided us by God Himself (Hebrews 11:1).

The verses we look at today tell us of a Gentile woman who trusted the Lord Jesus, for just the crumbs from the table:

“And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but He could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought Him that He would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto Him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30 (KJV)

There are some who think as they read the above verses that Jesus was being cruel. It certainly would not be politically correct in the U. S. of A. today. It is not cruelty; but a test to show that she truly has faith in Him, His word, and His mission.

First of all Jesus had came to the people, the nation of Israel. He in fact was Jewish Himself; was one of them. He was come to redeem the house of Israel. Did she know and understand that? Evidently so.

She was willing to believe the Lord, His word and work, and to receive only the “Crumbs” from the children’s table. You will notice that He spoke words of healing to her. The demon departed from her daughter, and there was a Gentile woman redeemed by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Believe Him. Trust Him; and His Word today.

Revival

“Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.” 2 Chronicles 31:1 (KJV)

Hezekiah was a godly king, and did that which was right in the sight of the LORD (29:1-2). He called the remnant of the northern kingdom to join with the people of the southern kingdom to restore the Passover, and proper worship to the Lord in Jerusalem; and many of the people came (30:1-12).

Both kingdoms were guilty of godless kings, leading the people away from God and the proper worship of Him who alone is worthy of worship. Ahaz; Hezekiah’s father was one of the worst of Judah.

As a result of the people of the remnant of the northern kingdom coming to Jerusalem and worshipping with the people of the southern kingdom was that they all returned to their lands, and destroyed the idols, images, high places, and done what was right and godly. They had a revival in the land.

People of God of any day when they get right with God will rid themselves, their land, their homes of anything that is an offense to God, the LORD. The greatest enemy to God’s people – To the Christian today is harboring, hanging on to that sinful thing that we want to hang on to. What is it? That thing that keeps you from a right fellowship with God.

Pride, greed, lust, lying, shedding innocent blood, wicked mind and thoughts, sowing discord among brethren: you can apply your own there. What is our greatest enemy? See 2 Corinthians 10:5. Throw it down.

The Worship of Demons

“And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.” 2 Chronicles 28:22-25 (KJV)

Ahaz was an evil king of Judah. He was in distress, and against the only, and Holy God of Judah and Israel; and the world for that matter. He had sacrificed his sons to fire according to the ways of those who had been driven out of Canaan (28:3). He had no heart for the LORD.

You may wonder why this is titled “Worshipping Demons”. It is because of what he apostle Paul says,

“What say I then? That the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22

The worship of any “god” other than Jehovah through His Son Jesus Christ, and His atoning blood is demon worship.

If that offends you, then repent of your sins and turn to the One who died for your sins, was buried and rose again, and He will forgive your sins and give you eternal life in the presence of holy GOD.

Praising and Honoring God With Music

“And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.” 1 Chronicles 6:31-32 (KJV)

These verses begin a chronicled list of Levites whom David placed as the authority over the singing in the “Tabernacle of the congregation” after it was brought to Jerusalem thus the phrase “after that the ark had rest”. You find that genealogy from verses 33-48.

I believe the LORD likes us to sing unto Him in worship. I also believe He is glorified with instruments of music, as they are played unto Him. He is glorified when we are enjoying Him. John Piper has written, “God is most glorified in us; when we are most satisfied in Him” and music is one way that is expressed when it honors His name, His holiness, and His righteousness.

I sometimes laugh as I drive in a city once in a while, and occasionally I will see folks in their cars tapping the steering wheel, or moving to the rhythm of a song they are listening; maybe even singing along. I laugh, because I find myself doing that, just about every time I have the car radio on, and listening to a good uplifting God honoring song.

Sing a song today, and honor God in your music.

The Duty of Man, and All Creation

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: sing forth the honour of His name: make His praise glorious.” Psalm 66:1-2 (KJV)

God created man to voice praise to Him.  To bring honor and glory to His name.  There is no higher or nobler purpose for man than to praise the LORD; glory in His name.

When Adam and Eve chose to do their own thing, they fell out of that purpose; they fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  When they fell short they tried to hide from God as He came to walk among them in the day.

We are not told who this Psalmist was.  It could have been David.  It could have been another.  At any rate it is a song for all to sing.  We are to “Make a joyful noise unto God…”  Not to any other thing called god, but to our Creator alone who spoke all things, including you and me, into existence.

It is not only for the people of the United States of America; not just the nation of Israel; not just Egypt, Iran, Iraq, India, Korea, Japan or China.  It is the duty of all men, women, boys and girls; yea, even all creation to praise the Lord, and sing forth honor of His name.

The best and only way to do that is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “This is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” John 6:29  Jesus was speaking of Himself as being the one who God sent.

Thirsting for GOD

“O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.” Psalm 63:1-2 (KJV)

A declaration of faith.  A lived faith. A faith  that is walked in the LORD.  That was David.  He had the desire, and heart to seek God at every opportunity of his life; even while hiding from Saul in the wilderness. 

Though separated from the sanctuary; the Tabernacle; David still desired to seek God.  “Early” is not necessarily a time of day or morning; it expresses eagerness to be with God, in the quiet and still of the day.

Being with the LORD in His word, in prayer, hearing Him helps the Christian deal with life.  If we have problem people we can love them with the love of God, and show them the love of Christ as we journey through our day.

I have never experienced a really dry mouth; having never been too far from a source of water; however, I have heard that it is a horrible thing.  That is the comparison the Psalmist uses to say that he desires GOD, and to see His power and His glory.

We can see the power and the glory of God when we look upon the cross of Jesus Christ.  It is a wonderful thing to have a place of worship, and know that you can meet GOD there.  The Christian, however, needs to know, that, no matter where we are He is there with us.  As a matter of fact we must worship Him; not once a week; but everyday, throughout the whole day, praying without ceasing, walking with Him, praising Him.

If you are not worshipping Him throughout the week what makes you think you can catch up on your worship on Sunday.  No worship through the week.  No worship on Sunday.  Maybe that is why you go to Church on Sunday, and do not give anything, or receive anything from it. If you know Jesus worship Him.  He is with you always.

 

Lifting Up the Name of the LORD

“I will extol Thee, O LORD; for Thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.” Psalm 30:1 (KJV)

According to this Psalms title it is a song at the “Dedication of the house of David”.  The LORD had lifted David to heights he had never dreamed.  He was the king of Israel.  He had wealth, subjects, soldiers, and worth.  David, however, knew from whom these things had come.

He says in this song, “I will extol Thee, O LORD…”  To “extol” means to lift up, to praise and adore.  God had lifted him up, and he now lifts up the name of the LORD, so that all may know the LORD.

We live in a world and/or a culture which is absorbed with self fulfillment.  I have some news for you.  This life is not about you.  It is about GOD.  It is about His greatness, His grace, His mercy, His love, and Him sending His Son to die for us.

Let us be content to be like David; whether we have been exalted to greatness in a palace or whether we live in a fallen down shack in the woods; let us exalt, extol – lift up – the name of Jesus.  He is the “exact representation” (Hebrews 1:1-3) of the Father.

Lift up His name by believing Him.

Commandments of God – Traditions of Men

“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honour thy father and mother:’ and, ‘He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.’ But ye say, ‘Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, ‘It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;’ and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.'”  ~Jesus  (Matthew 15:1-9)

Rest and Worship for Mankind

“And it came to pass, that He went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.  And the Pharisees said unto him, ‘Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?’  And He said unto them, ‘Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?  How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?’  And He said unto them, ‘The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath.’” Mark 2:23-28

The Redeeming Love of God (2)

GOD Pursues the Redemption of His Wife

GOD is on a persistent quest to redeem the lost spouse (Israel), and reclaim her to Himself.  Through the gift of His Son Jesus He paid the ultimate sacrifice to redeem all who will hear His voice believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved.

“Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.  Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not My wife, neither am I her Husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.  And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.  For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.'” Hosea 2:1-5 (KJV)

God calls on Judah and Israel to refer to one another as brethren “Brother” and “Sister”.  There is a contending on God’s part, with Israel.  God has put away Israel: “She is not My wife”  “I am not her Husband!”  There is punitive judgment here – for the purpose of punishing and restoration.

If Israel would not quit hers sins then God would “Put them away” in order to show them, that is was He who was providing bountifully for them; not her “lovers” who are the Baals of pagan, godless worship.

“Wife” in the text, as is Gomer is representative of the corporate people [Nation] or land of the North.  “Children” are representative of individuals within the nation or land.

There is a storn indication that there was a small group [remnant] within the nation who were not participative as individuals, but said or did nothing about it.  Their toleration in essence; was approval for the actions of others while they were selling the nation to godless whoredoms and all kinds of immoralities.

In these verses God pleads with Israel (v. 2);  He warns them of judgment (vv. 3-4); and the people obstinately reject God’s plea (v. 5).

“Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.  And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.’  For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.”  Hosea 2:6-8 (KJV)

We are told by some Scriptures that God puts a “Hedge” about His people keeping them from harm, and from evil.  Here the hedge has a different purpose.  God says now how He will bring them back to Himself.  He will build a hedge of thorns and “wall her in”.

By doing this God accomplishes three things;

  1. She would no longer be able to find the “Paths” that lead to the shrines and idols of Baal (v. 6);
  2. In seeking the idols they would not be able to find them (v. 7);
  3. They would begin to realize that they had it much better when they were worshipping God and Him only.

In God and in God alone they would realize the blessings they had received were from GOD alone (vv. 7-8).

“Therefore will I return, and take away My corn in the time thereof, and My wine in the season thereof, and will recover My wool and My flax given to cover her nakedness.  And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of Mine hand.  I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.  And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, ‘These are my rewards that my lovers have given me:’ and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.  And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat Me, saith the LORD.”  Hosea 2:9-13 (KJV)

We can see by these things that God is on a relentless pursuit of His wayward “Wife”.  He lovers her.  Real and true love is harsh with a wayward loved one.

How would God pursue?

  1. Take away the grain at harvest;
  2. Take back the wool and the flax (linen);
  3. He would remove His hand of protection, and put on her a hand of judgment, which no one could deliver her from;
  4. All celebrations, feast days, would cease; along with laughter and joy;
  5. He would destroy her vines and fig trees, because she had given praise to the Baals for the fruitfulness of the land.

This judgment was God’s.  She had gone after other gods following the paths of pagan cultures clothed in expensive jewels and dress.  God says, “She forgot Me”.

This is a sad commentary about God’s people.  The very fact that Israel was worshipping Baals shows they had forgotten, and departed from God.  Any time any of God’s people begin to look to their wealth, blessings, or pleasures as coming because of their own goodness, or from anything , but God; she has forgotten God.

Has the United States of America depended upon idols?  Is the pagan deity Baal still worshipped in the USA? Pleasure, wealth and convenience seems to be the cry of today’s society and culture.  The saddest part of that is that many professing Christians have lined up with the world in these things too.

Yet our answer for freedom from sin and this world is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Hear Him, believe Him, repent and be saved.

When evil is in the world, and the world is in the Church; evil is progressing toward its maximum potential, and its end.
More on this chapter next time…

-Tim A. Blankenship

Walking on Water

“And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a spirit;’ and they cried out for fear.  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.’  And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.’  And He said, ‘Come.’  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, ‘Lord, save me.’  And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.'” Matthew 14:22-33 (KJV)

 

Day 16 – Me and My House

Reading the fourteen chapters I read today left me a little bit bewildered, because there is so much to think about when it comes to writing and what there is to post.  As I sat down to write I was not sure of what to post here at Fire and Hammer; and then I believe I saw the way this was to go.

My reading consisted of Joshua 23 – 24 and Judges 1 – 12.  In Joshua his life is coming to an end and he offers a challenge to the people he is leading;

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

I know, I know a very familiar verse to every Christian; at least it should be.  However, I think I see it a bit differently now after reading it this time.  I noticed that Joshua puts the responsibility of their obedience upon their shoulders.  I guess I knew that previously, but it seemed more pronounced today.  Hear the conversation between Joshua and the people,

“And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.’  And the people said unto Joshua, ‘Nay; but we will serve the LORD.’  And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’  ‘Now therefore put away, said he, ‘the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.'”  vv. 19-23

God demands that His people be holy.  Joshua gave them the truth of God and His Word, and they said we will be responsible.  “We are willing to suffer the consequences of our disobedience when we do so”, “We are witnesses” of this.

We then enter the book of Judges, read of Joshua’s death, and how the people anger the LORD through their worship of foreign gods; which actually begins by departing from GOD.  Disobedience is the first step of departure from GOD;

“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19

The chariots would have appeared to them to be like a military tank to a man on foot in today’s army.  Yet, I must ask, What of God and faith in Him?  Is that not how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down?  Is that not how the waters of the Red Sea parted?  What about the water from the Rock?  The Manna from heaven?  Then we read,

“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, ‘I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.   And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?  Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” 2:1-3

So now, because of their absence of trust in the LORD, their departure from Him to other gods; GOD leaves the enemy in their midst to act as “thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”  We as Christians can sit back and judge them and ask these questions concerning their faith; but what about our own.  When it comes to holiness are there things in our hearts and lives that separate us from the blessing of God?

Our holiness is, of course, through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is His holiness, His righteousness, in which we must rest; however, we too have a responsibility to obedience in “… faith which worketh by love.” (Galations 5:6).

Grow in faith and love toward Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Delight In His Commandments

The people of God are a praising people.  I do not say that we should be a praising people, but that we are a praising people.  We are praising the LORD.  He is worthy of praise.  Why?  Because He is God.  He alone created all that is.  Everything in the Universe was made by Him.  There is not one thing which  did not come about, but that He spoke and it was.  He is the I AM – The all sufficient, Self-Existing, Self Sufficient One.  Without Him the Universe would fly apart, back into nothingness.

Hear the Psalmist in Psalm 112,

“Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in His commandments.”  Psalm 112:1 (KJV)

How can the redeemed of the LORD do anything else but praise the LORD who alone is worthy?   It would be a down, discouraged, darkened soul of a Christian who would not be praising the LORD, but rather going around complaining about their “lot” in life.  When you are praising God you cannot complain about anything.

The believer in Christ fears only the LORD, and is truly “Blessed”, happy, fulfilled, and a blessing to others.  The believer is also one who delights in the commandments of the LORD.  John the apostle says,

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3

O, for the child of God who is walking with the LORD, praising Him, delighting in Him and His commandments; it is pure joy.

The following paragraph are the words of Charles H. Spurgeon from the Treasury of David on Psalm 112:1;

“Praise ye the Lord.” This exhortation is never given too often; the Lord always deserves praise, we ought always to render it, we are frequently forgetful of it, and it is always well to be stirred up to it. The exhortation is addressed to all thoughtful persons who observe the way and manner of life of men that fear the Lord. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, the Lord should have all the glory of it, for we are his workmanship. “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord.” According to Psa_111:10, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”; this man, therefore, has begun to be wise, and wisdom has brought him present happiness, and secured him eternal felicity. Jehovah is so great that he is to be feared and had in reverence of all them that are round about him, and he is at the same time so infinitely good that the fear is sweetened into filial love, and becomes a delightful emotion, by no means engendering bondage. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Jehovah is to be praised both for inspiring men with godly fear and for the blessedness which they enjoy in consequence thereof. We ought to bless God for blessing any man, and especially for setting the seal of his approbation upon the godly. His favour towards the God-fearing displays his character and encourages gracious feelings in others, therefore let him be praised. “That delighteth greatly in his commandments.” The man not only studies the divine precepts and endeavours to observe them, but rejoices to do so: holiness is his happiness, devotion is his delight, truth is his treasure. He rejoices in the precepts of godliness, yea, and delights greatly in them. We have known hypocrites rejoice in the doctrines, but never in the commandments. Ungodly men may in some measure obey the commandments out of fear, but only a gracious man will observe them with delight. Cheerful obedience is the only acceptable obedience; he who obeys reluctantly is disobedient at heart, but he who takes pleasure in the command is truly loyal. If through divine grace we find ourselves described in these two sentences, let us give all the praise to God, for he hath wrought all our works in us, and the dispositions out of which they spring. Let self-righteous men praise themselves, but he who has been made righteous by grace renders all the praise to the Lord.

God is greatly blessed, honored and praised by the praises of His people.  Praise Him today and everyday by receiving His Son Jesus, believing and trusting Him for the day, and for your life; the rest of your life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Worship the LORD

With the weekend coming up, and Sunday only two days away worship should be a fitting topic for today.  Excitement, dancing, clapping of hands, jumping up and down, shouting words of worship are not necessarily worship.  Especially, in a Christian setting where Jesus Christ is to be worshipped. (By the way, I know I am spelling “worshipped” wrong compared to the new spelling.  I prefer the old way.  With two p’s).

I want us to look at Psalm 96 today.  It has much to say about worship.  Particularly verse 9,

“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth.”  Psalm 96:9 (KJV)

“Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” may have to do with garments the people of God wore as they attended the tabernacle, or the temple; however there is a much better understanding of that, which would be one’s life lived with love and adoration of the One we worship.

There is a reference in this Psalm to “gods of the nations” (vv. 4-5), and I believe that is for a reason.  In the worship of the “gods of the nations” it involved much debauchery, and lewd practices with suggestive dancing and moving bodies.  The worship of our LORD is “in the beauty of holiness”; with no sexually suggestive moves, or profane acts.

Now, please do not take me wrong.  I think a little hand clapping to the timing of the music is okay; as long as it is done with the heart of praise to the Creator who alone is worthy of our praise, honor, glory and worship.

Remember what Jesus told the woman at the well,

“Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:21-24 (KJV)

God is holy, and His people must worship Him in the BEAUTY OF HOLINESS; not after the fashion of those attending a Rock concert.  There is a “garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3), and that garment must be holiness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Joshua Worships

The example given today is not a type, but in truth the very Son of God; which was yet to become flesh; as He speaks with Joshua after they have entered into the Promised Land.

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto Him, ‘Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries?’  And He said, ‘Nay; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, ‘What saith my Lord unto His servant?’   And the Captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, ‘Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”  Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)

This was the evening before the LORD gives the children of  Israel Jericho as a victory.  Joshua has probably experienced some amount of anxiety.  This is his first battle with a city as the new leader of Israel.  He is evidently alone and the LORD appears to him.

We know it is the LORD because Joshua bows in worship to Him, and He accepts the worship.  If it had been only an angel the angel would have quickly had Joshua stand; as the angel did with John in the Revelation 19:10.

This “Man” is none other than a theophany or preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

He refers to Himself as “Captain of the host of the LORD”.  He is the same one who will lead the armies in the final battle on that Lord’s day when all evil will be put away; and Jesus Christ shall reign forever and forever (Revelation 19:11-20:15).

When Joshua sees the LORD He has His sword drawn in His hand, ready for battle.  Joshua asks Him, “Are you for us, or our adversaries?”  The answer the LORD gives is not a yes I am for you, or I am for your enemy; it is rather, “I am Captain of the host of the LORD”.  Joshua submitted his will to the LORD’s will; and thus it should be for all who will be right with God.

It is not a matter of the LORD being on my side; it is however, a matter of me being on His side.  The prophet Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”  The answer to that question is NO!  If we are to be participants in the Scarlet Thread of redemption we must agree with God, His Word, His commandments, and His salvation.

Fall today at the feet of the only one worthy of our worship.  The only one who makes all things right with God.  The Son of God Jesus Christ who died on the cross, was buried carrying sin away, and rising again for our justification.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Power Of The Ten Commandments

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:   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.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:   And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.”  Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

THE POWER OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Jesus is asked by a scribe, “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus’ answer is one which shortens the whole of the Ten Commandments into two short commands. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”. I have done a study of the Ten Commandments and find some very amazing thoughts of the first four commandments God gave us. The first four Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship with God. In the first Commandment the “Heart” can have no other gods – there can be only one. In the second, the “Soul” of man cannot unite with other god’s by building an image – we are made in God’s image, not He in ours – thus the soul must be knit only to God. The third, the “Mind” of man must not think thoughts that make the mouth say vain things of God, or curse His name. In the fourth, we need “Strength” so God commanded a day of rest and so that we could devote one whole day for worshipping Him and renewing our physical and spiritual “Strength”. Just as a means of summing up these matters, we must come to the conclusion that there is no place in man’s heart and life for any other god, but the God who created all things, seen and unseen.

On the matter of the second commandment which Jesus gave, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” we see that the final six of the Ten Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship to his/her fellowman. From one’s mother and father, marital faithfulness, preciousness of life, sacred ownership, speaking of others, and the possessions and being of your neighbor.

The scribe acknowledges that there is no greater law than these; to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength is better than “whole burnt offerings and sacrifices”. This man was a wise man, and even Jesus tells him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”. Not by keeping commandments is one saved, but in knowing and loving God, and only God can give that to us.

For a list of other studies on the Ten Commandments you may follow this list.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD’s Greatness

“For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, ‘The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him” Ezra 8:22 (KJV).

Ezra, a priest and scribe of Israel, was much burdened for the return of God’s people back to their homeland, and for the restoration of the worship of the LORD God.  They had been in captivity in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, and now Cyrus.

Ezra had made a big boast to the king about the greatness of God.  He would not require a band of soldiers for their protection.  He believed that in asking it would be a shame to the Lord, and show a lack of faith on his part.  The way to Jerusalem was dangerous; filled with thieves and murderous hearted culprits who hated all things good.

We can never do wrong in boasting of the greatness or our LORD God.  Boast of Him daily.  Boast of Him many times during the day, and during every hour and minute of the day.  You cannot begin to over boast of His greatness.

The LORD God is Almighty, full of grace and mercy, He holds the world in His hands, He holds the Universe in His hands, He smiles in the smile of a child and one of His saints.  There is no other god.  He is the only one.  He has made a way that all may come to Him, and that is provided only one way; that is His way through the cross of His Son Jesus Christ, the Creator of all that is.

Boast of Him today, all day long.  You will grow to love Him much more than you do right now.  Then put your boast of Him to work by faith.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Be Wise – Be Instructed

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” Psalm 2:10-12 (KJV).

It is wise to be on the King’s side.  Whatever one’s place in this world; be we king, prime minister, senator; our place is to glorify our King, and that King is Jesus Christ.  When we are “nudging up” to the man of flesh, then Jesus is not the One who is being “kissed”. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” Psalm 111:10; and there is a lack in this great wisdom for our day.

Wisdom is a necessary attribute.  Godly wisdom is what we are concerned with in this text and context.  It is sad to think that there are many world rulers in our day who do not have godly wisdom, and are working against all things godly.  The rulers of our world are working against the Nation which God has ordained, and called out as a Nation in our days; to even remain a Nation.  They are not wise.  It is written in THE TREASURY OF DAVID by C. H. Spurgeon, “True wisdom, fit for kings and judges, lies in obeying Christ.” Vol. 1, p. 20.

A love for God with fear brings rejoicing, and causes us to serve and joy in His presence.  He is our hope, our cause for rejoicing. Serve Him with fear, ie., great awe, and reverence.

To “Kiss the Son” is to be in complete agreement with Him.  We acknowledge He is always right, and will never lead us astray.  Many will reject Him and refuse to kiss Him, unless it be as Judas who betrayed Him, and those who refuse will go into eternal judgment of fire.

Happy [Blessed] is the lot of those who put their trust in the blessed King of kings, Judge of judges, and Lord of lords.  Put all your trust in Him.  You are Blessed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unclean Lips – Vile Heart

Well did Isaiah the prophet write, “Woe is me, for I am undone!  Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). 

Jesus has been confronted, and wrongly and evily so, concerning the matter of eating with unwashed hands.  To their pride Jesus answered them concerning the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and mother”, the one with promise; and charges them with “transgressing the law”.  This was the law of God.  What Jesus had actuall done was violate a commandment of men, who wanted to use their vile law to condemn the very Son of God.

It was the privilege of the religious elite to write off any of their aid for parents as “gift to God” and thus were able to use the aid for themselves, or as they saw fit; dishonoring their parents.  This brings us to Jesus’ charge against them.

“Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’ And He called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” Matthew 15:7-11 (KJV)

There is much “Lip service” given to God and Christ today.  Sadly much of it comes from unclean hearts, thus, unclean lips.  Those lips, however are not unclean from what goes in through the mouth, but what comes out of the mouth. 

Jesus calls them “Hypocrites”, and then quotes to them the prophet Isaiah’s words concerning the lips of those with hearts far from God.  The people of Isaiah’s day appear to be affluent, comfortable, have “the world by the tail”, coming and going as they please.  They are also “worshipping” God as they please as well.  Their Sabbath duties are fulfilled, they voice their prayers, and have the Scriptures read to them – on the Sabbath – then, they go out into their daily living, and they fall down before idols.  The prophet warns Judah of a coming judgment upon them unless they repent of their ways.  And judgment comes.

Jesus tells these leaders that their hearts are defiled.  We often use a napkin to wipe our mouth when we are eating a meal; we can use a tooth brush to cleanse our mouth after a meal; but there is nothing that can cleans a foul and vile heart, but the love, blood, and cross of Jesus Christ.

There are many professing Christians today (2008) who are professing faith in Christ yet living in the way of the world.  Worshipping the money/finance, celebrities, health care, presidents, pornograpy, globalism, science and technology, and some even worship their children.  Much of this false worship is associated with comforts, pleasures, conveniences, etc.  Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).  Whatever is on your heart is what you worship and cherish most.  Though we do have “kings” a plenty in the good old USA, “Every man does that which is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

All true worship is done through Jesus Christ.  If Jesus is not central to the worship of God then, there is no worship of God.  It is vile, dirty, unclean lips that cannot praise Jesus, and that all comes from and unclean heart.

Receive a clean heart by hearing the truth of the Word of God, that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day He rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).

May God be merciful to us, as we turn from idolatry, unclean lips, to Him, and a cleansed life through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

As The LORD Lives…

The previous verse one we see that the call goes out to “Run…through the streets of Jerusalem…”, to seek for anyone who “executes judgment, who seeks the truth”, and if there is anyone then “I will pardon her”, God says. This takes us to the second verse:

“Though they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ surely they swear falsely” Jeremiah 5:2 (NKJV).

The phrase “As the LORD lives” is one which the prophets often used to proclaim divine oracles, or by people swearing oaths. This was a city and a land which made great promises to God, and refused to believe that God would judge a nation, a city as Jerusalem, or its temple which was the “abiding place of God” for the people. The priests and people of Judah seemed not to view the LORD in any greater capacity than they did the gods the surrounding nations worshipped.

Due to this unbelief; this pluralistic thought; God holds them in contempt of the Laws of His name. The arrogance of the hearts of men and women of that day against the LORD was very similar to many of today.

To think that we could go to church or worship in any place and appease God for all our sin is at the height of arrogance, when we know that God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. To think that being baptized could appease the wrath of God against sin comes from the pride of a rebellious heart. To believe that to break the bread or drink the Lord’s cup would appease the judgment of God for sin is against the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. These things are for the genuine believer, and can never put away our sins; can never atone for sin.

The LORD lives; there is no doubt about that. Since we believe that, genuinely, then we must genuinely believe Him and follow Him and believe and practice the principles, testimonies, ordinances, laws, judgments, words, statutes, commandments of His Word. Just attaching His name on the end of prayer does not mean that it is prayed in His name; and just because you may attach His name to a sermon, or speech, does not mean that sermon or speech is of God or from His Word.

These people of Jeremiah’s day would speak in the name of the LORD, then lived their lives after the fashion of the surrounding nations. They were still worshipping God on the Sabbath, per se, and the rest of the week they worshipped the gods of the nations, either by practice or by neglecting the LORD.

We don’t do that: do we? It happens far, far too many times. Be sure when you use the LORD’s name it is in reverence, and in worship of Him whose name is reverend and holy –

“He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” Psalm 111:9 (KJV)

     

-Tim A. Blankenship

As The LORD Lives…

The previous verse one we see that the call goes out to “Run…through the streets of Jerusalem…”, to seek for anyone who “executes judgment, who seeks the truth”, and if there is anyone then “I will pardon her”, God says. This takes us to the second verse:

“Though they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ surely they swear falsely” Jeremiah 5:2 (NKJV).

The phrase “As the LORD lives” is one which the prophets often used to proclaim divine oracles, or by people swearing oaths. This was a city and a land which made great promises to God, and refused to believe that God would judge a nation, a city as Jerusalem, or its temple which was the “abiding place of God” for the people. The priests and people of Judah seemed not to view the LORD in any greater capacity than they did the gods the surrounding nations worshipped.

Due to this unbelief; this pluralistic thought; God holds them in contempt of the Laws of His name. The arrogance of the hearts of men and women of that day against the LORD was very similar to many of today.

To think that we could go to church or worship in any place and appease God for all our sin is at the height of arrogance, when we know that God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross. To think that being baptized could appease the wrath of God against sin comes from the pride of a rebellious heart. To believe that to break the bread or drink the Lord’s cup would appease the judgment of God for sin is against the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. These things are for the genuine believer, and can never put away our sins; can never atone for sin.

The LORD lives; there is no doubt about that. Since we believe that, genuinely, then we must genuinely believe Him and follow Him and believe and practice the principles, testimonies, ordinances, laws, judgments, words, statutes, commandments of His Word. Just attaching His name on the end of prayer does not mean that it is prayed in His name; and just because you may attach His name to a sermon, or speech, does not mean that sermon or speech is of God or from His Word.

These people of Jeremiah’s day would speak in the name of the LORD, then lived their lives after the fashion of the surrounding nations. They were still worshipping God on the Sabbath, per se, and the rest of the week they worshipped the gods of the nations, either by practice or by neglecting the LORD.

We don’t do that: do we? It happens far, far too many times. Be sure when you use the LORD’s name it is in reverence, and in worship of Him whose name is reverend and holy –

“He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” Psalms 111:9 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Heart of Pretense

A Heart of Pretense

“Pretense” – a claim, not supported by fact; mere display or show. A false show. So is the meaning of the word. It would not be a pleasant or comfortable thing to be charged with. However, as we look into the book of Jeremiah we see that the nation of Judah, the Southern part of the divided kingdom since Rehoboam, is charged with this exact thing. “Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:10).

The Northern kingdom has been charged with adultery against God. God has called for their repentance (3:7), to return to the LORD. They had prostituted themselves against their faithful Husband and God, and become an immoral nation.

“…Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:8-10 (NKJV).

This was a prophecy given during the reign of Josiah (3:6), who was considered a godly king. Josiah became king at the age of eight years (Read 1 Chronicles 34 – 35). You will read of Josiah that he purged the land of Judah of the “high places”, of “carved images”, and of “molded images”, and that “He did what was right in the sight of the LORD…” However, it appears that much of what was done during Josiah’s reign was done with pretense. It does not seem to have been pretense on the kings part, but on the peoples hearts. Legislation, whether done by a monarch or a president cannot change the hearts of people. The hearts of the people of Judah were moved by Josiah, but not by God. Therefore, there was much pretense in the land of Judah.

Pretense or hypocrisy cannot be hid from the omniscient eye of the LORD. It is said quite often in Scriptures that “God looks on the heart”, and that seems to be something that all people tend to forget. Pretense and hypocrisy never fools, or deceives the Lord Almighty. It didn’t work in Judah or Israel, and it will not work in today’s world either.

If you will notice God even calls this act by Judah “treacherous”. Three times in verses seven through ten God calls Judah the “treacherous sister” of Israel. The word “Treacherous” is defined as ‘Characterized by treachery; untrustworthy, unreliable’ and “Treachery” is defined as ‘a violation of allegiance or trust’. According to Strong’s Concordance it is ‘to deal deceitfully’; and certainly the heart’s of the people of Judah were endeavoring to deal deceitfully with God.

At a time when our own nation is at war, and the hearts of people are growing more and more spiritual, but not according to the knowledge of God; there is much pretense and hypocrisy. There are religions on every corner that use the name of God, but know Him not. When religion denies Jesus Christ, they deny God. Jesus Himself said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). There is truly only one true worship of God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death, burial and resurrection. Any other presumed worship is a treacherous and pretentious worship.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Rejected Helpers

Rejected Helpers

There have been a few times that the Nation of Israel turned their backs on their God – YHWH – and in doing so committed harlotry against Him. Israel was the chosen wife of God, but they committed adultery against Him. God has not been pleased with them to say the least; when they committed this idolatrous act.

In their sin they have taught their young to despise the prophets, to practice idolatry, at least those who were not burned in fires offered to Baal. The LORD used various forms of judgment against them to bring them back to Himself, but they would always fall back into their disobedience and immorality.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Why do you beautify your way to seek love? Therefore you have also taught the wicked women your ways. Also on your skirts is found the blood of the lives of the poor innocents. I have not found it by secret search, but plainly on all these things. yet you say, ‘Because I am innocent, surely His anger shall turn from me.’ Behold, I will plead My case against you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ Why do you gad about so much to change your way? Also you shall be ashamed of Egypt as you were ashamed of Assyria. Indeed you will go forth from him with your hands on your head; for the LORD has rejected your trusted allies, and you will not prosper by them.” Jeremiah 2:33-35 (NKJV).

There was such adultery in the land that God hated it. He hates divorce [putting away] (See Malachi 2:16), and He would hate the putting away of His people. He does everything to woo them back to Himself. He warns, He woos, He judges. The nation even made themselves look more appealing to the neighbors, when asking for their aid against the common enemy. This was their adultery. This was their turning away from the LORD, and this led to their actually offering their children in the fire to the Baals of false religions.

When God’s people start to depend upon people, politics, power, and religion, then, they have forsaken the LORD God in favor of the favors of men.

When God says, “On your skirts is found the blood of the lives of the poor innocents.” It seems that He would be referring to the lives of the children offered to the false religions in the fire. The blood of their innocent children are all over them, and cry out from the soil of the earth. God says, that it is plain to see. It is on your skirts. As one other prophet has said, “Be sure your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

One sad thing about this passage of Scripture is even though they have been caught in the act they deny their sin, and the responsibility of their actions, “I am innocent, I have not sinned”. There can be no repentance when they cannot see that they have sinned against God and His Word. God says, “I will plead My case against you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.'” When God has a great love for His people, or an individual who is supposed to have a relationship with Him He will work to get them to the point of recognizing their guilt and sin. Why fuss and argue with God about your sin, just confess it and repent. That would be simpler, and much less complicated than arguing with God.

God assures His people that there is no prosperity to those who trust in foreign countries who will be their enemy, but you will leave “With your hands on your head”, surely indicating their captivity in the form of surrender. Most of the time when a police officer captures a fleeing criminal they order them to place their hands on their heads. This is surrender. They give it up. Any allies Israel or Judah trusted in has came to nought, and so will the allies we depend on other than God. God rejects the helper, and also rejects those who were dependent upon the helpers. It is because they have rejected God.

Christian brother and/or sister our only help is the LORD God through the Lord Jesus Christ; His cross, burial and resurrection. When we put more confidence in people, power, politics, wealth, fame, or anything other than God we too commit an act of adultery against God. God will also reject our helpers.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Heart of Pretense

“Pretense” – a claim, not supported by fact; mere display or show. A false show. So is the meaning of the word. It would not be a pleasant or comfortable thing to be charged with. However, as we look into the book of Jeremiah we see that the nation of Judah, the Southern part of the divided kingdom since Rehoboam, is charged with this exact thing. “Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:10).

The Northern kingdom has been charged with adultery against God. God has called for their repentance (3:7), to return to the LORD. They had prostituted themselves against their faithful Husband and God, and become a immoral nation.

“…Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:8-10 (NKJV).

This was a prophecy given during the reign of Josiah (3:6), who was considered a godly king. Josiah became king at the age of eight years (Read 1 Chronicles 34 – 35). You will read of Josiah that he purged the land of Judah of the “high places”, of “carved images”, and of “molded images”, and that “He did what was right in the sight of the LORD…” However, it appears that much of what was done during Josiah’s reign was done with pretense. It does not seem to have been pretense on the kings part, but on the peoples hearts. Legislation, whether done by a monarch or a president cannot change the hearts of people. The hearts of the people of Judah were moved by Josiah, but not by God. Therefore, there was much pretense in the land of Judah.

Pretense or hypocrisy cannot be hid from the omniscient eye of the LORD. It is said quite often in Scriptures that “God looks on the heart”, and that seems to be something that all people tend to forget. Pretense and hypocrisy never fools, or deceives the Lord Almighty. It didn’t work in Judah or Israel, and it will not work in today’s world either.

If you will notice God even calls this act by Judah “treacherous”. Three times in verses seven through ten God calls Judah the “treacherous sister” of Israel. The word “Treacherous” is defined as ‘Characterized by treachery; untrustworthy, unreliable’ and “Treachery” is defined as ‘a violation of allegiance or trust’. According to Strong’s Concordance it is to deal deceitfully; and certainly the heart’s of the people of Judah were endeavoring to deal deceitfully with God.

At a time when our own nation is at war, and the hearts of people are growing more and more spiritual, but not according to the knowledge of God; there is much pretense and hypocrisy. There are religions on every corner that use the name of God, but know Him not. When religion denies Jesus Christ, they deny God. Jesus Himself said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). There is truly only one true worship of God, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death, burial and resurrection. Any other presumed worship is a treacherous and pretentious worship.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Living For the King

For the King

“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:38-39 (KJV)

Jesus chose His cross for paying the debt of sin for the people of the world. His cross, His life was the only life worth the Father receiving for sins debt to Him. Jesus chose the way of the cross over His life. He chose the way of the cross over the love of the flesh; the desire to survive. The King chose to suffer for the people rather than to allow us to suffer for eternity.

Subjects of the King choose the suffering of Jesus Christ over the short lived pleasures of sin – “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” Hebrews 11:25 (KJV).

Disciples/Subjects of the King rejoice that they are counted worthy to suffer for His name – “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” Acts 5:41 (KJV). It was for the joy that was set before Him that He gave His life (Hebrews 12:2). There is a much greater joy than the pleasures of this life.

When we are in Christ Jesus we are desiring to “Conform’ ourselves ‘unto His death”, and to “know the fellowship of His suffering”. This is choosing to no longer live for the flesh, and ourselves but for Jesus and His glory. This is all because of Him, for Him and through Him. In suffering we have a greater fellowship of identity with Him. We learn Him, know Him, and He knows us.

The MacARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY says, “A cross is the willing sacrifice of everything one has, including life, for the sake of Christ. It is something that, like the Lord Himself, a believer must take upon himself when it is thrust upon him by the unbelieving world because of his relationship to God.” Vol. 2, p. 233. Longing to be like Jesus even in His death. Counting this life loss for Jesus’s sake.

The First Commandment

With the rise of celebrity worship, and an increase of pluralistic tendencies in our nation, and even among some professing christians; it seems to be a time to be reminded of the Ten Commandments, especially among followers of Jesus Christ.

The following article was previously published on The Watchman’s Trumpet, and I repost it here.

The First Commandment

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1-3

There are many problems when there is more than one God. There is confusion. There is no proven authority. There will be problems with divided hearts or divided loyalties; how these things affect the human heart and mind. We are commanded to worship only one God.

God, the Creator of all things, is holy and requires His people to be holy.
Other “gods” require nothing, expect nothing, but exalt fleshly appetites.

In all truth there are no other “gods”. They are the making of man’s own imaginations and heart.

With one God there is unity of purpose – with many gods there is only confusion. With the human minds and hearts as they are, there are about as many “gods” as there are people in the world.

The only exception would be/should be Christians devoted to God in Christ. When there is more than one sovereign everyone does what is right in their own eyes, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25. In fact, everyone is their own sovereign, thus, confusion of ethics and morality.
Abraham was called by God to leave a land of idolatry and follow the LORD God. A question might be asked of this first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”. That question being; ‘Does this allow that there are other “gods”? The answer to that is an emphatic NO!

Man, of course, does make gods of flesh, blood, wood, metal, and stone, etc., but these are powerless. Manmade gods are made in the image of created things and beings, and require nothing of man. No man would have ever invented a god who was holy, righteous, just, and expected his worshippers to be like Him. Nor, would we have created a god who judges us worthy of eternal death. And, we certainly would not have made this god pay the sin debt of his worshippers. Who would/could have thought of such a thing?

The recognition of and worship of one God is of this God’s own making. He desires the worship of His creation. He desires to bless His people. He desires to bring His people into perfect holiness, and give peace to them.

When there is a god for every event, season, crop, success, failure, person, etc., then, you have nothing but confusion. The God who created all things does not want us confused – He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). The New Testament also reveals to us that the worshipping of other so called “gods” is the worship of demons (1 Cor. 10:19-21).
Since there are no other gods, but gods whom the “Haters of God” worship; who are actually demons; then, it stands to reason that God alone is worthy of our worship.
The greatly implied emphasis is upon choosing God the Creator of all things, as the One and only. He is the One you can trust in time of drought and famine, and the One you can trust in time of blessing and plenty. HE IS I AM.

God – Jehovah – YHWH is your salvation, sustenance, shelter, song, shield, and sword, and so much more.

When you have “No other gods” you are completely God’s possession. Your priorities are in Him. Your time, your family, your vocation, your church, and your entertainment and relaxation are directed by Him and His Word.

If you desire peace of mind and heart it can be found through this one and only God by trusting His Son who died, paying our sin debt, was buried carrying that sin and guilt away, and rising bodily from that grave showing the victory won on the cross, conquering death, sin and the devil. God’s Son Jesus after rising from the grave, ascended to the Father/God, and has promised to return. Trust Him. Call on Him today