No Matter What Anyone Says…

Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Psalm 3:2-3 (KJV)

No matter what anyone says in mockery of the Christian you are loved by God.  It has been said by some, that, depending on Christ or God is a crutch.  Well, my response to that is… Yes, I am a spiritual cripple, and I need Him as more than a crutch.  I need Him many times to carry me.

There may be many who say of us… “There is no help him/her in God”  but I can look them in the eye and say, “God is my help, He is my shield protecting me from the vile attempts by the devil to get me to turn against the Almighty.  He is also my glory.  He is also the one who lifts up my head and sets my feet upon the Rock.

What are folks saying about you and your faith in God today?  Maybe you have been ill, attacked by a grave illness, maybe even cancer, and people are saying, or asking, “Where is her God now?”  You can use these verses to combat that. You do not need to wait till the sickness is over.  He is your shield, your glory and the lifter of your head now.

No matter what anyone says… God is for you when you are for Him through His Son Jesus Christ who is God the Son.

Purpose Driven Holiness and Awe

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”  Revelation 11:15-19 (KJV)

This seventh and final trumpet ushers in the seven vials of wrath. Although they are not mentioned until chapter fifteen there is a break in the judgments to reveal some things that will happen during the latter half of what is often called “The tribulation period” – the latter half is referred to as “Great tribulation” (2:22).

There were voices saying that the Lord is King and “He shall reign forever and ever”. This only means God has allowed sin to run its course, and “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh” (Psalm 2:4). It seems that this would fit chronologically with chapters 19 and 20.

The Lord Jesus will take possession of the property which He died to redeem. At the last trump, the Lord takes what is His. Praise Him.

The same “twenty-four elders” of chapter four are in Heaven worshipping the Lord of glory.

They are awed by His awe-inspiring power over sin and evil and the vanquishing of all wickedness from the earth.

How do they worship Him?

  1. They recognize His power – Almighty;
  2. They praise His eternalness and immutability [Unchangingness];
  3. They recognize Him as Judge – both to reward His servants and punishment upon the wicked. Worship to God is simply given by recognizing Him for who He is.

“The nations were angry” takes us back to Psalm 2:1-3. The wrath of the nations is powerless and vain – for man’s own selfish revenge. God’s wrath is not for revenge, but to dispell sin, and His wrath is powerful and purposeful.  When we think of God and His love we must always remember that God is holy and no sin can stand in His presence; therefore because He is holy He does judge sin; our sin.  We must also remember the cross, for it was there that all our sin was laid on Him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

There is a great need for the fear of God in our day. It does not matter what the false prophets are saying about “God is love” – a half-truth is a lie. God is love, but He is also hating sin and judges it. He is wrathful. That is the truth. He is to be feared – held in awe.  A few years ago I stood upon a portion of the Rocky Mountains and I said, “This is awesome”.  A few years later I stood on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and wept with tears and said, “This is so awesome”; however, when I look into the Word of God, and I see Him in His Son Jesus I weep and rejoice at His Awesomeness, because there is no awe, such as His AWE.  He made the mountains,  the Grand Canyon, and all that there is.  He is holy and AWESOME.

The original temple. The one in Heaven. The one used to model the “Wilderness tabernacle” after. The one where God in His glory dwells. It is opened. The way to God is open today. The way into the holiest of all is through the Lord Jesus Christ. This reminds us not to take for granted God’s open door.

Within the temple, there was seen the “Ark of the testament”. The ark of God. This was the “Ark of the covenant” behind the veil, in the “Holy of Holies”. It contained the Ten Commandments, a bowl of manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded.  It is, in fact, the testimony of God dwelling among men; and that is Christ Jesus

Those who know God have received Jesus – the Bread of Life; Jesus – the fulfillment of the law written in the heart, and Jesus – the resurrection to new life. Talk about the temple being open, access to God, we have it. At least for now.  The day of the closing door, however, is drawing close.

Because many refuse God’s open door to Himself judgment upon the Christ-haters and sin lovers is certain. The lightnings, voices, thunderings are mentioned in 4:5. “Earthquake and great hail” is added to this sentence.

It seems that the very source of our salvation is also the source of judgment upon the wicked. We have the choice to be saved now or be judged through eternity. Bless the Lord.

The two witnesses of verses 1-14 who are yet to come will be empowered by God. So are all of those who know Jesus today, by the presence, glory, and power of God’s Spirit who lives within. The door is open. We too are the witnesses of God.  Let us never forget that His holiness and awe is with purpose.

He is Unchanging and Glorious

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:4-8

In this article, we see words of encouragement through the reminder that God is immutable – unchanging. The whole of the Revelation is for the encouragement of believers of all ages. To the Christians who are enduring trial, and persecutions in our day it is truly encouraging to know that God is unchanging, and is the true source of courage, hope, and ultimate fulfillment of His promises.

Is there anything in life which we can count on? Clothing fashions change from day to day. The economy flourishes or we suffer depression, or somewhere in between. People’s attitudes change, about situations and other people. Even the planet earth on which we live is unstable. Think of the hurricanes, tsunami’s, earthquakes – you get the picture.

We can trust in the immutability of God. He never changes. Since He never changes His laws are still the same, His expections of His people are still the same as they have always been, and His character is flawless, so He is fully trustworthy. We may not be able to trust kings and leaders of our state and community, and even of our churches, at times, but we can have the utmost confidence and trust in the One who never changes. The Lord Jesus Christ.

His grace has always been abundant. His peace one of the greatest of experiences. Apart from His unchangingness these would be flippant and He would be just as untrustworthy as the word of a liar.

According to verse 4, the Revelation is written “To the seven churches which are in Asia.” This does not mean that there were only seven churches in Asia. It is probably symbolic and representative of the total Church. Not only for John’s age, but for all ages to come. That is not to take away from the Revelation’s immediate message and intent.

John’s salutation is similar to that of the apostle Paul’s. Both of these men realized the importance of “Grace” and “Peace”. “Grace” being the ‘unmerited’ or ‘undeserved’ favor of God, and without which, we would all be eternally condemned. “Peace” being made clean before God, without guilt or condemnation. Grace is our standing or position before God. Peace is our experience with God.
“Which is,… which was, and which is to come” reveals to us the eternalness of God. These words are written again in verse eight, chapter 4; 11:17; and in 16:5. There could be no grace or peace if God is not eternal or unchanging [immutable]. If God changed with every generation, fad, or grievance of people He would be even less dependable than our fellowman.

It is because of His immutability that He is able to save us (Hebrews 7:24-25). In Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses to tell the people, “I Am hath sent me unto you”. This name means, “Self-Existent One”. If He is Self-Existent He needs nothing to sustain Him, therefore, He is unchanging. He is, He was, and He always will be God.

“Seven Spirits” has been a troubling statement to some. When we think of the number seven (7) in the symbolic way which John meant, we can only come to the conclusion of fulness, completion. The fulness of the Holy Spirit is certainly in the giving of this Revelation of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit before the throne. If He is before the throne, and He abides in us, then, where are we who are in Christ Jesus?

In verses five and six we find Jesus revealed as a Prophet [“Faithful witness”], Priest [“First begotten of the dead”], and King [“The prince of the kings of the earth”].

As the Prophet He called people to the Father by His words and by His life. The prophet is hated while he lives and calls people to righteousness, thus, Jesus was crucified. He became Priest by His death, burial and resurrection. He became Priest, “After the power of an endless life ” (Hebrews 7:16). “The first begotten of the dead” has more to do with His power and position than His being the first to rise from death. However, He was the first to have “…the power of an endless life”. By His death and resurrection He became our High Priest. This High Priest is truly a priest. He has been “Touched with the fellings of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). A priest is one who approaches God on behalf of men and communicates to man on God’s behalf. Certainly, this is Jesus. He is King by His power over kings and Nations. He rules supremely. Here the word is “Prince”. The prince is one who will be king. but has not began his position of rule and authority. With Jesus this is by choice of His Father, until His set time.

This is the One who loved us, and loves us, washed us and loosed us from the slavery of sin by shedding His own blood. He gave His life. He took the condemnation that was mine and yours. By doing this for us He has made us “…a kingdom of priests unto God”, or “Kings and priests”. The Scriptures are full of doxologies unto God. Is it any wonder? When we truly begin to see God in His glory how can we be silent any longer. He is glory. He is worthy of blessing, power and dominion forever. SO BE IT.

Verse seven has Him coming in power and great glory. This event takes place chronologically in Revelation 19:11-21. This event follows the Rapture of the Church by at least seven years.
When Jesus comes for the Church no one will see Him. He is coming then as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4). People will be snatched from their homes, cars, places of employment and chaos will prevail upon the earth.

In this verse “Every eye shall see Him” and they will mourn and weep over His appearance. They will even cry out to the rocks and hills to fall on them (6:16; Hosea 10:8). “They also which pierced him: “, then, would refer to the people who condemned Jesus to die. That, of course, being the Jewish nation, and they will believe in Him; “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27 (KJV).

John’s response to this may seem; to some anyway;  cold and heartless, but he says “A-MEN” out of anticipation and exhilaration, and faith that the Lord Jesus will be ultimately victorious. So, it is more a cry of victory than of vengeance.

Finally in this study we get to verse eight. “Alpha and Omega” are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is interesting when you think of Jesus as the “Word of God”. Words are made of letters. If He is the First and Last, the Beginning [Genesis] and the end [The Revelation], then, He is also everything in between.

He is, He was, and He forever shall be. He is unchanging [Immutable]. Because of that He is our A to Z. From beginning to end the Immutable One. A-Men.

In conclusion, let me readdress the fact that He is unchanging. There is not much, if anything, in this world that does not change.

It should cause us to be bold and brave to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knowing He never changes. He is “…The same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Because He is unchanging He is a worthy, Prophet, Priest, and King. Worship Him. He is revealing Himself to a changing world.

The LORD is Good

What do you think of when a roaring, howling, powerful storm comes; with flashes, and bolts of lightening, and sounds of crashing, rolling thunder?  It is a fearful thing when we see these things.  Many people have just recently survived such storms, suffering great loss, and we pray for you, and offer condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

I am a strange sort of man I guess; but storms fascinate me.  Lightening is a wonder to behold.  I have been on the edge of a tornado in my car, and kept driving, even though I could not see much past the hood of the car.  It is a fearful thing.  More fearful is to be on the wrong side of God.  Hear the words of Nahum the prophet to the Assyrians, their capital city Nineveh…

“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.”  Nahum 1:2-8 (KJV)

It could be said that Nahum’s prophecy is  a continuation of Jonah’s.  When Jonah went to Nineveh and preached of God’s judgment, the people, the whole city repented; yet that repentance was only one generation, and then God sent Nahum to warn them.

Does God, the LORD judge evil?  That is a question that many people ask; even today.  The answer to that is “Yes!”  God does judge evil.  It just is not always according to our allotted time.  Why can a wicked person live for years without illness, or grief, and seemingly be blessed with the world’s riches, and pleasures and never experience God’s justice?  He/She does, or she/he will.

The LORD is Good.  Let us consider this.  It could be that God in His goodness and grace is allowing that individual time to repent and change their way, coming to God through Christ Jesus.

The LORD is mighty, He is Almighty, He holds the storms of this life in His hand.  He knows the beginning and He knows the end.  This life is not about me, or you, or all those who are suffering from sickness, disease, pain, sorrow; from storms or shooters.  This life is about GOD, and His power and glory to Him. He has made a way for sinful humanity to come into His holy presence; and that is through the cross of Jesus Christ who suffered the most horrendous thing any man could ever bear.  Not only did He suffer the physical pain and agony of the cross, but He the holy Son of God was denied the face of His Father as He bled and died for us.  He in fact experienced Hell for us there.

The LORD is Good.

Christmas Day Sixty Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want, wanted, and have received some encouragement, hope, and strength from the LORD, and pray you will receive it as well from the following words…

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” Psalm 91:1-8 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

Just in the past two weeks there have been two horrendous, murderous, terrorist attacks. Just yesterday March 27, 2016 there was an attack in Iran while a number of Christian brethren were celebrating Easter.  There were 67 murdered, and hundreds injured.

What I want is that these murderers  be stopped, to be silenced by Holy God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; and I want them to know they will answer to GOD, not Allah, that Allah will crumble and fall before the face of Almighty Jehovah; and that every knee, even that of all those who worship Allah will fall before Jesus the Christ, worship Him, and if they are without repentance and faith in Him now will die eternally in the Lake of fire; I want all Muslims to know that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised from death, and came out of that grave; believe Him, and be saved.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)

Forgive my error.  It was Pakistan not Iran where the terrorist murderers killed.

Excellent in Power and in Judgment

“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict. Men do therefore fear Him: He respecteth not any that are wise of heart.” Job 37:23-24 (KJV)

The three friends of Job have spoken. Job has finished his speaking. Now a fourth man; who is the younger of the other four; now speaks. Job 32-37 covers the speeches of Elihu.

We know nothing much of him except he was a Buzite, of the kindred of Ram. Does not tell us much. We can tell that he is ignorant of the events of heaven in chapters one and two. We know this because he is still accusing Job of unrighteousness which God has not.

One thing I like about Elihu is that most of what he says seems to exalt the Almighty, as in these final words of his speeches.

Reminds me of some of the apostle Paul’s words that God is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25), and that of the apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:17).

Elihu, though young, and verbose reminds us that this story in Job’s name, and these events are not really about Job; but about the Almighty God.

The events, challenges, trials, friends, enemies, good times, bad times are not about me; they are about the work of God in me. He is working to make me more into His image and likeness (Romans 8:29). The likeness of His Son Jesus Christ who bled and died on the cross for our sins.

Will the Almighty Hear Me?

“Oh that one would hear me! Behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine Adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. I would declare unto Him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto Him. If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; if I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.” Job 31:35-40

The last friend to answer Job was Bildad the Shuhite (chapter 25). All three of the friends had condemning comments, rather than words of comfort or encouragement. When you are down you do not need someone to drive you down further.

For Job, God has been silent. He is asking for a chance to appear before the Great Judge, and Prosecutor to clear his name. To Job at this time the Almighty is the Judge and Prosecutor (Adversary) rather than the Advocate. Remember, Job does not know the scene, or the events in heaven before all his pain began.

As you read the above text for today you can see some confidence in Job. There is confidence that if he could just see the charges against him he would be vindicated through this case. “Let the Adversary write a book” bring the charges against me he says, and I will be wearing them on my head as a testimony of my faithfulness.

There is a bit of arrogance in his statement. The Almighty does address this matter later in His words to Job.

We can have confidence that the Almighty hears us. We can be confident that we will be cleared of all charges of guilt against us. Not because we are guiltless, but because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross. With Christ there is no room for arrogance, pride, or a self-righteous attitude. We appear before the Almighty by His grace.

The Secret Place of the Most High

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 (KJV)

I will let John Gills commentary speak with you concerning this verse today.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High,…. Or the Supreme; a title of God, who is superior to all beings, the Creator and Preserver of them, God over all, higher than the highest of angels or men; see Gen_14:22, “his secret place” is his heart, his bosom, where his only begotten Son lies; and into which he takes his people, where they are set as a seal, and who enjoy intimate communion with him; which is no other than his gracious presence, called “the secret of his presence”, Psa_31:20, which none but saints are admitted to, when his everlasting love, which was a secret in his heart, is made known unto them, and in which they also dwell, 1Jo_4:16, as they likewise do in the eternal decree of election; which perhaps is meant by “the clefts of the rock, and secret places of the stairs”, where the church is said to dwell, Son_2:14, unless rather Christ the Rock, and who may be signified by the cleft of that Moses was put into, when the goodness of the Lord passed before him, is intended; and who is the hiding place from the wind: mention is made of “the secret” of God’s “tabernacle”, Psa_27:5, in which he hides his people; alluding to the tabernacle, or temple, and the most holy place in it, called his secret place, Eze_7:22, and may refer to the ministry of the word and ordinances, where saints dwell, and enjoy much communion with God; and who are particularly under his special providence, protection, and power; which may here be designed:

shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty: who is able to do all things for his people, and is “Shaddai”, all sufficient, as this word is thought to signify; has a sufficiency of happiness in and for himself, and of provisions for all his creatures, and of power and grace for his own children: his “shadow” may be the same with his secret place, his power and protection, often in this book of Psalms called “the shadow of his wings”, Psa_17:8, in allusion to birds that overshadow and protect their young with their wings; though perhaps the allusion here may be to the shadow of a tree, and design the word and ordinances of the Lord’s house, which are a delightful, refreshing, reviving, and fruitful shadow, Son_2:3, where gracious souls dwell, and abide with great delight and pleasure. Christ, the Son of God, is sometimes compared to the shadow of a rock, or tree, which screens and shelters from heat; as he preserves his people from the heat of a fiery law, the flaming sword of justice, the wrath of God, the fiery darts of Satan, and the fury of persecutors: under this shadow do they abide or lodge all night, safe and secure, as the word (o) signifies: the Targum calls this shadow the shadow of the clouds of glory; the Arabic version, “the shadow of the God of heaven.”

From e-Sword John Gill Commentary.

It is in the heart of every believer to desire to dwell in that Secret Place.

Jesus Through the Bible – Even the Vision of Balaam

“And he took up his parable, and said, ‘Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: ‘He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.'”  Numbers24:15-19

Often the words of a false prophet are not worth posting; however in this case they are documented in Scripture and the prophecies of true prophets to be considered worthy.

Balaam prophesied of Jesus.  Jesus is the “Star out of Jacob”.  He is also the “Sceptre” that “shall rise out of Israel”.  Jesus is the Conqueror of the enemies of Israel, and forever shall be.

If a false prophet has some vision of who Jesus is why do you not have the heart and vision to see, that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, crucified, buried, raised bodily from the grave; and coming again.  Jesus is the conqueror of all sin, and the Victor over all enemies of God and His people (1 Corinthians 15:51-58;  Romans 8:35-39).

Who Jesus says He Is

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”  Revelation 1:8 (KJV)

In Matthew 16 Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”  The disciples gave many various answers, including Elijah, or one of the prophets,  then Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter jumped in with, “You are the Christ, Son of the living God.”  Jesus told him, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father which is in Heaven.”  He was applauding Peter for his answer, for it was the correct one.

Some say that Jesus never said that He is the Son of God.  He has, He did, and He is.

Yet, He is much more than the Son of God.  He too is eternal; from Alpha [Beginning] and Omega [Ending].  That is not the beginning and/or ending of God, but of all that He has made.  Who did Jesus say that He is?

Alpha and Omega.  See Jesus for who He says he is; for who the Father says He is; for who His works say that He is.  He is the Incarnate God; crucified, buried, and bodily resurrected, and returning King.  He is the Saviour and King of the universe.

-T.A.

Day 41 – Thoughts from Psalms; Home

To me, “Home” is a pleasant word, but much more than that a place of shelter, warmth.  Home is a place of family; the place you lay your head at night.  The place you dwell, and abide.  In a ship sort of way home is the anchor of your life.  You can leave home for a while, but you always come back.

The old phrase, “Home is where the heart is” is a true phrase; at least for many people it is.

My reading this morning was Psalms 80 – 93.  My comments this morning will rest in Psalm 91.  Psalm 91 makes me think of home.  I am blessed to have an earthly home.  I grew up in what many might call the “traditional family” where the father works providing for the family, though his work was mostly farm work, and I worked along side him when I was old enough to start; and the mother stayed home, tending children, and caring for the house.  Mom, also did more than housework, she even killed the chickens we raised for a good chicken dinner at times; made homemade butter, and cottage cheese.  O my, that was gooooood stuffff.

Look with me at the first two verses of Psalm 91 –

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.'” Psalm 91:1-2 (KJV)

I have already written of “Wings” in a previous post, and that being a place of safety, and rest.  Home is the place we live, we dwell there, we abide there.  It is indeed where the heart is.

The  psalmist says to us, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High…”  That “dwelling” is where we stay.  It is a place of shelter; a place of comfort; a place of protection.  This “secret place” is more than home though.  It is the place where God is; the most holy place.  It is the holy of Holies. The place of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat.  The place for only those in intimate relationship with God the Father can dwell.

This “secret place” is the place the intimate ones never leave; but if they ever do they will quickly return.  Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

The treasure, the dwelling place, the abiding place of the intimate ones with the LORD is in the “secret place of the Most High”, and those who dwell in that “secret place” are abiding “under the shadow of the Almighty”.  It is a place of shelter from the darkness of the world.  One thing we might think of as we think of “the shadow of the Almighty” is that His shadow most certainly would be a shadow of greater light.  Just as the light of the sun overpowers the light of a light bulb, so too does the light of the glory of God overpower the light of the sun.

The home of the Christian is in the presence of God, the Almighty.  He is our refuge and fortress.  Let us say with Moses, or whomever the human author of this Psalm is, “In Him will I trust”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Day 39 – Thoughts from Psalms; Wings

Men have thought of flying for all times and generations.  We have watched the birds of the air, and wondered what it would be like to fly through the air and the skies.  Of course in the age we live now there is not too many people who have not experienced flight within the confines of a passenger plane or an airplane of some sort or other.  Some have flown on hang gliders, using air currents to stay up in the air, and those who are good at it can stay up for as long as they want or until they get too tired to continue.

Well this is not supposed to be about flying, but about “Wings”.  The shelter which our God provides us is often likened to wings and we see plenty of evidence of that in the Psalms.  My reading today was Psalms 52 – 65, and within those 14 chapters the word “Wings” is mentioned four times.

The first of the day is Psalm 55:6,

“And I said, ‘Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.'” Psalm 55:6 (KJV)

Now, when we think of a “dove” we think of the symbol of peace.  The psalmist is thinking of a peaceful flight to get away from his enemies who were oppressing him.  He wanted peace, and the first thought was having the “wings like a dove” who would find no rest except in the ark of God (Genesis 8:6-12).  David’s thought must have been that the wings of a dove to fly away could only find rest in the hands of our faithful Creator.

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” 57:1

Of this verse, particularly the latter part, Charles Spurgeon wrote,

“‘Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge.’ Not in the cave alone would he hide, but in the cleft of the Rock of ages. As the little birds find ample shelter beneath the parental wing, even so would the fugitive place himself beneath the secure protection of the divine power. The emblem is delightfully familiar and suggestive. May we all experimentally know its meaning. When we cannot see the sunshine of God’s face, it is blessed to cower down beneath the shadow of his wings. ‘Until these calamities be overpast.’ Evil will pass away, and the eternal wings will abide over us till then. Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time, but our safety is a matter of eternity. When we are under the divine shadow, the passing over of trouble cannot harm us; the hawk flies across the sky, but this is no evil to the chicks when they are safely nestling beneath the hen.”  From THE TREASURY OF DAVID by Charles H. Spurgeon

When we write about “Wings” one of my first thoughts was where Jesus says,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”  Matthew 23:37

A mother hen protects her young by calling them under her wings.  She protects them there from rain, or predators.  Of course as we contemplate the matter of God having wings we do need to understand that these are speaking metaphorically, at least as far as we know.  We can and do know that the LORD desires to protect and help those who trust in Him.  We can know too, that even when the wrath of God is in open display we can be sheltered beneath those “Wings” for all time and eternity.  Nothing can touch or harm us except that that the LORD Himself allows under His wings.

God’s “Wings” are as a “hiding place” as we read the psalmist say,

 “I will abide in Thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah.”   61:4

The place of safety, security, and for hiding from the enemy is under these mighty wings of the Almighty.  We are not to flee from the enemy, but let us face the truth, there are times we get tired in the battle, we need to hide, we need to get away, pray, seek the face of God, and recuperate.  There is no other place for the child of God, the Christian to be than in “The covert of Thy wings”.

“Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.” 63:7

Our place of rejoicing is in the shadow of His wings.  He stands between us and the world.  He stands between us and all harm that could come to us.  In being between us and the harm and danger His wings form a shadow of light from the darkness of the  world outside.

You may find this peace, this place of safety, this place of rejoicing only when you come to the One who took your place on Calvary’s cross, died for your sins, was buried, and was raised bodily from the grave after three days, and now He lives.  Because He lives you too can live eternally with Him.  Believe Him, trust Him and be saved today.

Christian, if you are fearful, struggling with problems in this life, and who is not; then you can flee to His sheltering “Wings” and rest from the battle, renew your strength, then be strong for the battle ahead.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 35 – Job Rebuked by GOD

I would probably call it “sarcasm”.  The voice of the LORD answers Job, “Out of the whirlwind”; and asks Job a lot of questions which seem to have a lot of sarcasm in them.  “Sarcasm” is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as “1 a cutting, contemptuous remark: 2 Ironical criticism or reproach”.  The latter one being the better understanding of God’s rebuke of Job.

My reading today was from Job 38 – Psalms 9.  We will comment on Job alone.

Chapter 37 ended all the comments by the friends of Job.  Job’s comments have ended as well.  God has been silent up until chapter 38, then He speaks with sarcastic rebuke.  I say it is sarcasm because of the way God questions Job.  For instance,

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” 38:2

The LORD is clearly speaking to Job.  It is not even clear if his friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are still around; or their friend Elihu.  Another question God asks Job,

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.” v. 4

Of course God knows the answers to these questions and Job’s final response is found,

“Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,  ‘Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.’  Then Job answered the LORD, and said,  ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”  Job 40:1-5 (KJV)

Job had spent hours defending himself before his friends; what he would do if he were given a chance to stand before the LORD, and argue his case with Him.  Now God is speaking to him, and he clamps his hand over his mouth to silence himself.  There are many questions we all have stated that we would like to ask the LORD when we see Him face to face.  My thought on that is; especially after looking at Job’s response; is that ours will be very similar.  Just His sight and His presence will answer it all for us.

There have been, and some just recently; tornadoes and storms which have wreaked out devastation throughout the U. S. of A.  Lives have been lost.  One whole family of five lost their lives in one city.  Questions abound.  One of which in these cases is, “Where was God when all these tragedies took place?” or “Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos, even of evil?”  If you will notice; From where did God speak to Job? “Out of the whirlwind”.  At least twice this is said in 38:1 and 40:6.

Where was God in all these tragedies?  He speaks from out of them.  We need to listen.  Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos and evil?  I used to ask that question a lot, then one day in a still small voice I heard the Lord say in my heart, “If I ridded the world of evil, I would rid the world of you.”  I have not asked the question since, except of course to tell about it.  I thank Him for His wonderful grace.  His grace and mercy has allowed that more have not died, than could have.

God reminds Job of two creatures He has made.  The “behemoth”, and the “leviathan”.  Now some interpreters interpret these creatures as being a hippopotamus and a crocodile.  The description it gives is too immense to be either.  There are some scholars who put the book of Job as written earlier than the books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  There are some; of whom I am one; who believe these creatures are of the time of, what we call, the dinosaurs.  The behemoth could be that one large one with the long neck reaching to the tops of trees, with the large tail dragging on the ground some of the time.  The other sounds like some sort of creature which breaths fire.  These are both extinct now, as far as we know.

Some of you may laugh, but God’s word is true.  And, if God gives us evidence that men were on earth with the dinosaurs, then we better take heed to it.

In the end Job is back, right with God and with his friends.  His friends are told by God to take a sacrifice for themselves, Job would pray for them, and God would forgive them too.  We are also told that God gave Job twice what he had before.  He even had seven more sons and three more daughters.

A point is made in verse 15 of chapter 42,

“And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”

Even Job was able to see the plan of God to make all one in Christ Jesus,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  Galations 3:28-29 (KJV)

Job was soundly rebuked by God, and shown the ridiculousness of his questions and charges.  Trust God, believe Him.  He sees a larger picture than you or I do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Day of the LORD is at Hand

The title comes from Isaiah 13:6.  Yes, I am doing some catch up work here.  On Sunday nights at Carr Lane Baptist I have been preaching through the Prophecy of Isaiah, however, I have not been prone to publish on the blog until now.  I pray you will be able to follow along and get them in order if you need to do so.

Chapter 13 begins a series of messages from the prophet to foreign nations  who have not heard the LORD God; and mistreated the people of God known as Israel or Judah, and continues through chapter 23.  From Babylon to Tyre, and includes God’s anger toward His people as well in chapter 22.

Chapter 13 and 14 deals with Babylon, which at this point in history was not considered a world power, yet it would become so, in about a hundred years.  How did Isaiah know this?  By the Word and wisdom of the LORD of hosts.

Babylon would be a proud and arrogant people; worshipping their own deities which were in signs in the stars, the stars, and idols made of human hands.

In many ways Babylon represents the world and its arrogance against God and His people.  The world, its inhabitants, its governments often have no friendly hand toward God’s people; be they Christian or Hebrew.  We see this quite often in many foreign lands today where Christians are persecuted for their faith.  Where we are not free to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and many brothers and sisters die for their faith.

We see it often in history concerning the Hebrew people.  One instance of great persecution against the Hebrew people is in the death camps of Hitler.  The numbers of murdered Hebrews during that time of holocaust in Germany.  It was a growing problem throughout the history of man.  No one of the surrounding nations wanted the Jewish people around.  They worshipped the one true God, and He is the only way to paradise or heaven.

“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”  Isaiah 13:6 (KJV)

The warning is to Babylon and their destruction should they fail to heed God’s warning.

If you will notice the very things which they admire and worship are taken from them.  “The stars of heaven and the constellations will not give their light…” (v. 10), the sun darkened.  Now I don’t know how this was done; and it is most likely a prophetic word which has yet to take place and the prophecy is basically to the world itself for turning their back on the message of God, His Word and His servants and His people.  With the same judgment they have wreaked out so shall they receive like judgment.  Remember even Jesus said, “Judge not, that  you be not judged”  (Matthew 7:1) and God will carry out His judgment to the fullest extent, and will let sin run its course (SEE verses 15-16).  Babylon will fall by the power of the Medes (Daniel 5:30-31).

The kingdom of Babylon as it was known in that day has fallen, just as God has said.  It was a glorious nation of wealth, gold, jewels, many riches.  It was full of pride.  God says, “…Her days shall not be prolonged” (v. 22).

The days of pride and arrogance of the world will come to an end.  God’s glory will be seen by all, rejoiced in by all who love Him, His Word and His people. His kingdom will be prolonged for all eternity.

-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

An Enlarged Aorta

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

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

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

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

Please pray for us.  Thank you for doing so.

May God bless you all.

T.A.