While in Thought the Fire Burned

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, ‘LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.  Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.’ Selah.”  Psalm 39:1-5  (KJB)

The Psalmist, the singer, was refusing to speak and be silent.  While he is being silent his thoughts rage, the fire burns as he continues to add fuel to that fire.

I have been there.  I am fairly certain that all who are reading this has been in that place where you bridle your tongue, and wisely so, but the anger, the hurt continues to rage in your thoughts.  What do we do with that?

David realized he had a problem.  He took it to the LORD.  So must we take it to Him.

Going to God in prayer is the best place to vent, to complain about that man or woman or situation that has caused our thoughts to roar at us; rousing anger, rage, and maybe even bits of hatred.

I was asked not too long ago, ‘Don’t you ever get angry?’  My answer to that was, “Yes!”  If it is not seen by others there must be something going on. One of at least two things: 1.  I am just covering it and building a fire in me making me even angrier; or 2.  I have taken the rage, anger, and hatred to the throne of God.

The first can be dangerous.  The second is the way of the faithful Christian. When we take our complaints to the Lord, then we will have less of a problem getting along with others.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to deliver us from our sins.  He was buried to carry away our sins and shame.  He arose from the grave the victor over sin, death, and hell.  He is coming again.  Do you know Him?

Between the Rooftop and the Desert…

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”  Proverbs 21:9
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19  (KJB)

Between the Rooftop and the Desert – Proverbs 21:9-19

Verses 9, 19 –  In the days of ancient Israel rooftops were flat, and used quite often for relaxing in the evening, or early morning.  The husband or wife could go to the rooftop, without leaving home, to get away from the other.
The desert or “wilderness” was not home.  This is leaving the house entirely.

Verse 10 –  Between home and the wilderness are many temptations.  The wicked desire evil, and one of those evils is no love for their neighbor.

Verse 11 –  There is also much learning.  The “simple” (Naive, foolish, open minded) learn by seeing the “scorner” (One who mocks God and religion) punished for their evil mouth and behavior.  The wise seek every opportunity to learn of God, holiness, righteousness, salvation- through the writings of others and reading them and applying them to their own lives.

Verse 12 –  “The righteous maketh the house of the wicked to prosper.”  Gersom from John Gill Commentary  e-Sword.  A good example is the house of Potipher with Joseph (Genesis 39:1-7).  God has blessed the United States of America because of the Righteous.  In the end the wicked will be overthrown.  Not by the United States, but by the breath of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes again.

Taking out the italicized words consider this for verse 12…

“The righteous wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for wickedness.” v.12

Verse 13 –  A stern warning about turning away from the cries of the poor.  To willfully neglect to hear and help the poor when it is in the power of our hand to do it could bring the same judgment on ourselves.  Luke 16:10-31

Verse 14 –  See Proverbs 17:8; 18:16.  “The Bible often reports facts without approving them. Thus it observes that an angry man will quiet down if the offender slips him a gift, and a man who is in a rage is appeased by a bribe tucked in his pocket.”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary

Verse 15 –  People who are just rejoice when Judgment or justice is done.  There is ruin or destruction to those who work iniquity.  It is proper to rejoice in righteous judgment.  It is iniquity to rejoice when evil is done.

Verse 16 – 18 –  The wandering individual, the one who goes astray from the paths of God and understanding find themselves with the dead.  When pleasure is all that one seeks they will not be rich.
For verse 18 consider Haman’s taking the place of Mordecai (Esther 7).

Verse 19 –  Between the Rooftop and the Desert there are many things to understand and learn.  There are sometimes troubles at home, and there are in the desert as well; with or without a spouse.  The thing is for the people of God to be faithful and true to Him who is with us always.

Words of the Prophets – Genesis (4)

The Tragic Results of Sin

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” Genesis 4:1-12 (KJV)

What Gift?

Just some thoughts from these sermon notes:

What Gift?

Matthew 5:21-26

OLD LAW – Concerning murder; meaning Pre-meditated having to do with planning before hand with malice and forethought.

ANGER – Leading to hatred. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”1 John 3:14-15 (KJV).

GIFT – A gift is above the requirements of the law;

– A gift is given, usually in sacrifice;

– When giving God a “Gift”, and realizing your offense/debt to another: leave the gift at the altar, then go and pay the debt.

TERMS/AGREEMENT – Do it with haste;

– First with God;

– Second, with brethren, and with your fellow man when possible;

– Only when in right fellowship with God can there be right fellowship with brethren;

– It is also possible, that if we be out of fellowship with brethren, we are out with God too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff (3)

Stewardship Of Repentance

Malachi 3:1:18

OUTLINE –

I. LOOKING FOR HIS COMING WITH UNREPENTANT SIN (vv. 1-2).
II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING THE DROSS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF HIS PEOPLE (vv. 3-4).
III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD (vv. 5-12).
IV. IN THE WRONG ATTITUDES OF THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD (vv. 13-15).
V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY HIS PEOPLE, AS PRECIOUS JEWELS (vv. 16-18).

Thus far we have saw the STEWARDSHIP which Malachi teaches in chapter 1 we saw THE STEWARDSHIP OF WORSHIP; in chapter 2 THE STEWARDSHIP OF RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP; and now in chapter 3 we will see THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE.

Are these things really a matter of personal stewardship? This may be a whole new way of looking at the book of Malachi, and I do believe that God’s people are to be responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to our care. This message is as much, or more to me, as it is to others, and is much needed by all God’s people.

The stewardship of the people of Israel was not in good order. It is sad to say that the stewardship of the church today, is not in good order either. There are people who have their names on church rolls as members of that church, but rarely if ever attend services. If they do it might be on Easter Sunday, for a special program, or for the Christmas program. There are over 16,000,000 (sixteen million) names on the rolls of more than 40,000 Southern Baptist Convention churches, yet, we would be extremely blessed to have half of them in attendance on Sunday. There is certainly a need for repentance for the neglect of the worship of Jesus Christ. There is also a need for repentance for lacking in fellowship with fellow believers. How can you encourage your brother or sister in Christ when you are absent from worship? How can you be encouraged when you are absent?

I. ABIDING IN SIN AND LOOKING FOR THE COMING OF JESUS.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:“ Malachi 3:1-2 (KJV).

A. God’s messenger has come to prepare the way for the coming of Christ.

1. That messenger was sent to every believer following the ascension of Christ to the Father.
2. That messenger is God’s Spirit who will convict of sin, righteousness and judgment.

B. There are many Christians who will say they long for the coming of the Lord, yet abide in sin.

1. The coming of Jesus would not be the longing of their hearts – it would be more like that of Lot’s wife whose heart was still in Sodom, and she turned into a pillar of salt, due to her lack of faith and obedience, “Remember Lot’s wife” JESUS (Luke 17:32).
2. The Lord will come to His temple – how will He find His vessel?

C. “He is like a refiners fire, and like fullers soap…” When you are in the faith of the Lord Jesus you will stand, endure, and be cleansed in His sight.

II. THE COMING OF THE LORD IS LIKE A DEVOURING FIRE, PURGING AWAY THE FILTH, AND WASTEFULNESS OF SIN FROM THE HEARTS OF GOD’S PEOPLE.

“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.“ Malachi 3:3-4 (KJV)

A. There must be a cleansing of Christian leadership, then, it will pass to rest of God’s people.

1. When the leadership is living as the world, it is no wonder the Church is worship less, weak, and weary.
2. When the leadership is clean, then, there will be a worthy offering unto the LORD in righteousness.

B. There will be pleasant offering unto the LORD, just as it was in the beginning.

III. A LETHARGIC PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW THEY HAVE DEPARTED FROM THE LIVING GOD.

“And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’

‘Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:5-12 (KJV).

A. It is almost as though these religious leaders copied their behavior from the church of Sardis in Revelation 3:1, Jesus said, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (NKJV).
B. The people had gone to trusting the word of sorcerers, adulterers, and had gone to oppressing the poor, the widow, the orphan, and turning strangers away.

1. This was all being done due to a lack of fear of the LORD.
2. They had changed, and forgotten that God is IMMUTABLE, ie., Unchanging.

C. God in His grace still calls for His wayward people to return to Him, and at His call to return, they wonder how, or why they need to return (v. 7).
D. His people have deserted the tithe, thus robbing God, and again wondering, “How have we robbed Thee?”

1. “In tithes and offerings” was God’s answer.

Now some are going to say, “That was law. The law has been done away. We are not under law any longer, but under grace”. My answer to that is this; The law has not been “done away”, rather it has been fulfilled in Christ. If Christ fulfilled the law, then, we are to let it shine forth from our lives. That means that the tithe is only the place that the Christian is to begin. If the ‘tithe’ is of the law, should the ones who are the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ give less than the requirement of that law. The Christian should begin with the tithe which is ten percent (10%) of one’s income.

If we look into the lives of the patriarchs of the Old Testament, like Abraham, w see that he paid tithes unto Melchizedek, and Jacob vowed to give God a tithe of all his possessions. These were before the law.

2. God’s people have been cursed by over indebtedness, and that due, at least in part, to lack of faith in God, and putting trust in perishable, material goods, and gain.
3. God says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse…” and that for God’s people today, is His local church.

a. The tithe does not go for missions offering, building fund, a television ministry, or the Red Cross, or any other charitable organization – it belongs to God and goes into the local congregations general fund, and to be distributed as God directs that congregation.
b. When someone “Gives” with stipulations, [as long as you have it where you can control it] it has not been given to God.

4. God will bless those who give to God as He directs, and as He says, “…That there shall not be room enough to receive it”.

E. When God’s people begin recognizing God’s ownership of all things, then, God will bless us in the eyes of others (vv. 11-12).

IV. WITH THE WRONG ATTITUDES IN THEIR HEARTS, THEY ARE ANGRY TOWARD GOD.

“Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?  Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?  And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.“ Malachi 3:13-15 (KJV)

A. The people of God have the attitude that it does no good to serve the Lord – “What profit is it…” accusing God of being unjust.
B. By declaring God unjust, they have the wrong attitude about holiness, righteousness, justice, peace, joy, and God.

1. How can the people of God get to the place where they question His faithfulness, His sustenance, His providence, His power, His presence, or His knowledge?
2. We can get in that way by becoming bored in our “Worship”, faithless in our work of ministry – losing our love for Jesus – and lacking repentance for our sins.

V. GOD WILL SANCTIFY – SET APART – HIS PEOPLE AS PRECIOUS JEWELLS.

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.“ Malachi 3:16-18 (KJV).

A. A book of remembrance is written for those that feared the LORD, and thought on His name.
B. God says, “They shall be Mine”.
C. There is coming a day when God will make Israel His precious jewels; His people are a treasured possession, and He will have all those who are His as such.
D. There is coming a day when He will spare His people and give discernment of the righteous and the wicked, and of those who serve the LORD, and those who do not.
E. You are called to be separate, apart from the world of sin and wickedness; you have the power of the Spirit of Christ to discern good from evil, godliness from wickedness.
F. God has set you apart as a precious Jewel

SUMMARY –

I. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO AWAKE FROM SINS WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN REPENTED OF, AND REPENT.
II. THE STEWARDSHIP OF REPENTANCE IS TO BE PREPARED FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD, AND TO KNOW HE IS COMING LIKE A THEIF.
III. REMEMBER TO WORSHIP THE LORD IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, AND TRUST THE LORD, LEAN ON HIM, AND LETHARGY WILL FLEE.
IV. TRUST YOUR FAITH; NOT YOUR FEELINGS, AND WRONG ATTITUDES, AND YOU WILL HAVE NO ANGER TOWARD GOD.
V. LET GOD SANCTIFY HIMSELF IN YOUR LIFE, AND BE HIS PRECIOUS JEWEL.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Issue of Anger

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 11 – 13…

“And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.” 1 Samuel 11:6 (KJB)

The person who is never angry never truly loves.  I can just about hear some readers here saying, “Wait just one minute.” In a tone of anger probably.

Reading the text from Scripture above caused me to think about anger.  I have heard some say that anger is bad.  I certainly cannot agree with that statement because God is angry with evil everyday (Psalm 7:11); Jesus was angry at least twice at the temple – the first time early in His ministry (John 2:14) and the second time, possibly in His final week before He was crucified (Matthew 21:12).

I heard a pastor a few years ago say, “You can tell the character of a man by what makes…

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Wisdom, Praise, and Boasting

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” Proverbs 27:1-10 (KJV)

Some thoughts on Proverbs 27:1-10…

Verses 1-6 – Boasting, pride, arrogance, leads to sorrow (vv. 1-2). The anger and wrath of the cruel is heavier on their own lives than is a stone over a wells mouth (vv. 3-4).

“The rabbins have a curious story on this subject, and it has been formed by the moderns into a fable. There were two persons, one covetous and the other envious, to whom a certain person promised to grant whatever they should ask; but double to him who should ask last. The covetous man would not ask first, because he wished to get the double portion, and the envious man would not make the first request because he could not bear the thoughts of thus benefiting his neighbor. However, at last he requested that one of his eyes should be taken out, in order that his neighbor might lose both.” Unknown

The rebuke of a friend is sweeter than the flattery of an enemy (vv. 5-6).

Verses 7-10 –

“Prov. 27:7–10 These four proverbs each teach an element of wisdom that can stand on its own, but they have additional application when taken together. Verse 7 deals with honey, a pleasant treat, and v. 9 deals with oil and perfume, luxuries that here represent a banquet (an ancient host provided perfumed oils for his guests at a banquet). Also, v. 7 says that something bitter is sweet to a hungry man, while v. 9 speaks of the sweetness of earnest counsel. Together, vv. 7 and 9 suggest that it is good to have friends for the occasional party, but it is better yet to have a friend willing and able to give good advice. Verse 8 speaks of someone who wanders far from his home (his immediate family) and leaves it unprotected, while v. 10 concerns someone in need whose brother (his immediate family) is far away. Together, they teach that there are benefits in remaining close to family, but a person should not hesitate to turn to a true friend when in need.” From the ESV Study Bible pp. 1181 & 1182.

Christmas Day 80

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be angry at what makes God angry, and to direct that anger to fulfilling the will and glory of God in my life; to not let the anger fester and become hatred, sin and evil.

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, ‘My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.'” Matthew 21:12-13 (KJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day 130

“Then He said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke Me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.” Ezekiel 8:17-18 (KJV)

The anger of God concerning the sins of humanity is not a popular topic.  We are more aspiring toward the “Love of God”.  The love of God is awesome; however, without the anger and wrath of God toward sin His love would be a moot issue.

Ezekiel the prophet of the above verses had been taken, by vision, to Jerusalem to witness the atrocities of the temple previously to their captivity.  They were atrocious sins against God and the temple.  Now, though I do believe the prophet already had some understanding of their captivity, Ezekiel had a fuller understanding.  The priests and the prophets and the people had “Thumbed their nose” at God, His Word, and the prophets who spoke God’s truths.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to never have contempt  in my heart, mind or being for God, His Word, His preachers who declare the Word of the LORD, or His people;  I want to always declare the truth of God’s Word even when it is not popular to do so; I want to preach and teach the Word of God so that God is glorified, and the cross of Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection is declared, and people know the price God has paid to redeem fallen humans from our sins.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Eighty and Seven

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22 (KJV)

We live in a day where we have Political Correctness, and that has opened the door for many to just say whatever comes to mind, because whether most of us like to admit it or not; we are rebels.

Now I am not speaking for PC.  I cannot stand what it does.  Dismissing, or deleting words, or flags does not answer our question, or our need.

So, What do I want for Christmas?

Since words have the power of life and death; I want to always remember that power when I speak; I want to always remember that my words can kill, murder, and destroy; or they can give life, encouragement and strength; in love and truth.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want people to know that there is no peace to the wicked.

There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 (KJV)
“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalm 7:11

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” Romans 5:1

Transgressions Removed

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:8-12 (KJV)

The mercy and grace of God is to me without question. I do believe sometimes we misunderstand mercy and grace, so let me give you my interpretation of mercy, then of grace.

Mercy = Since the fall of Adam and Eve mankind has been apart from God, born in that state; yet GOD who created them, did not immediately destroy them (Genesis 3). He chose rather to provide a means of salvation for them and their seed. They did not receive what they deserved, that was death that day. So let me say it this way; Mercy is not receiving from God what we justly deserve, and that is death, and destruction.

Grace = Adam and Eve experienced grace that day too (Genesis 3). An animal or two; I suspect probably sheep, were sacrificed by God Himself, to provide covering for them; thus something else paid the price for their sin. This event foreshadowed the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus took our sin upon Himself, received the judgment that was ours, and sin was put to death in His death (2 Corinthians 5:21); and by looking to Jesus, believing on Him we receive from God what we do not deserve. That is deliverance, salvation from our sins; to dwell eternally in the presence of God. Grace is God providing for us that which we do not deserve. Eternal salvation.

The Psalmist knew and believed in the promise of God’s coming Saviour, and rested in that promise. The only way of redemption is provided by the shed blood of God’s Lamb who suffered, bled and died on the altar of the cross for the sins of the world.

Through Christ Jesus all our sins are cast far, far away. How far away? “As far as east is from west”. I used to think that that had limits, then I started thinking about east and west. There is no end to it. For instance; if you start traveling west, keep going west, you will end up back where you began, and still be going west. The same if you go east. North and south are not that way. So why did God not say “As far as north is from south”? Because His grace is greater than that. His mercy is greater than that.

Oh, friend, fall into the hands of your loving God and Saviour today.

Participate in Righteousness – Inherit the Earth

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” Psalm 37:8-10 (KJV)

Many times when I see an evil deed done, my first thought is; “Death to the evil one”. If you have any righteous thought in you at all then when you see evil done you will have the thoughts too.

Defining evil in our day has gotten a bit complicated to many though. What used to be evil is now good; and what used to be good is now evil. The complication has come in due to evil itself.

Evil through the lies of Satan has been confused by what is deemed as love, which is actually tolerance mixed up with hatred. If someone is genuinely loved those who love them will correct them when they are in error; and endeavor to aid them, and direct them the right direction. The new idea of “love” is just let them be who they are; and they continue on in their self lies and affliction, misery and sin. What would you think of a doctor who discovers a cancer in your body, but does not tell you of the cancer because he “loves” you and is willing to let you continue as you are?

The Psalmist says to us. “Relax! Don’t React!” at least not with anger. We ought always be angry with evil, and the outcome of it; but let us also realize that in the end days evil will be judged, and those who practice it will be judged, and it shall be done away.

To “Wait upon the LORD” is not sitting idly by, but to keep on believing, trusting, doing those things we know we are to do. Be busy about the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot change evil, but evil will be judged. They that wait upon the LORD shall inherit the earth, they shall also “renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). Those who “Wait upon the LORD” are the meek who inherit the earth (v. 11; Matthew 5:5), as well.

Part of living a righteous life through Jesus Christ is living a life that confronts evil with the power of the word of God, and the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the strength against evil in our world. The Psalmist believed evil would lose in the end. So do we.

Put an end to the evil in your life by trusting Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, His burial and resurrection. He removes the evil, and gives you His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

No Matter What; Stand

“But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before Thee: for they have provoked Thee to anger before the builders. So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.” Nehemiah 4:1-6 (KJV)

The enemy will always try and thwart the will, way and word of the LORD. It was by God’s direction that God called Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. It was those who did not believe God, hated Him, and His people who tried to stop it.

Even so it is today. While the people of God stand upon the word of the LORD, and declare righteousness, justice, and peace through knowing Christ Jesus and His love through His word and the Spirit; there are those who call us the evil ones.

Are we to buckle under and let them have their way; or are we to stand in the truth of God, His word, His way, His truth and His life? We are to stand with God. We are to pray for the enemies of God and His people.

If the evil people persist in their rebellion against God, their sins will not be blotted out, not forgiven; and their iniquity will not be covered.

Let be said of the followers of Christ that we never stopped building the wall of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as the wall of Jerusalem protected the city from her enemies; so too the gospel of Jesus Christ separates and protects the Believer from the liar, the deceiver, the unjust; from the wicked.

Vengeance and Justice

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew Thyself.” Psalm 94:1 (KJV)

“I don’t get mad; I get even.”  A statement I have heard from others at time.  That thought is one of vengeance.

Our world cries out for justice.  We think of justice as being what is fair and just in payment for a crime that has been done.  We have seen that recently in conflicts where white police officers have killed young black men in the line of duty.  Justice is almost a war cry; and yet in their protest they are not doing justly themselves.

We long for justice; but we ought never take vengeance into our own hands.  We are prone to act with high emotion; especially anger; and when we are angry we sometimes act without thought.

The Bible tells us that “Vengeance is Gods”.  True justice also belongs to God; and in the final assessment justice will be done (Leviticus 19:18;  Deuteronomy 32:35; Isaiah 63:4;  Romans 12:19).

The Psalmist recognized to whom vengeance belonged.  In this day of darkness and evil as followers of Jesus Christ we too must acknowledge that justice and vengeance is God’s.  In too many cases we take vengeance when it is God’s to have.  Remember to “Love your neighbor as you do yourself” (Matthew 22:39).

The Question of “Why?”

“O God, why hast Thou cast us off for ever? Why doth Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture?” Psalm 74:1 (KJV)

If you have not at some point in your life asked the question “Why?” to God; you will.  You may not verbalize it; but you will think it.

There have been Christians who believed we should never ask God “Why?”  Well Why not?  Let us face it we all face trials; tough situations, circumstances; and some of these; maybe many of these are out of our control.  We believe we have been faithful to God, and yet this death, this sickness, this disease, this tragedy or chaotic event has happened in our lives.

This Psalm is a song of instruction from Asaph.  He knows about asking the question “Why?”

For myself; I have asked God “Why?”  He has never given me an answer as to the reason for the event or trial; but He has given me faith to bear it, and to trust Him through it.

The reason we would ask Him “Why?” is because we trust Him.  That is of course if we have asked without a rebellious heart; thinking if He gives me no good answer, then, I will never mention His name again, nor will I worship Him again.  Now that would be tragic.

I must say there have been times I asked God in anger “Why?” concerning my wife’s illness, or about the aorta problem she had a few years ago, that could have caused her death in an instant.  He never answered, but He gave me peace, and a greater trust in Him.

Let us hear the heart of Asaph.  Know that it is okay for the child of God to ask “Why?”  It does show who you are trusting.

Is GOD Angry?

“O LORD, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure.”

To answer the title question; David the Psalmist thought God could be angry.  To ask, “Is God angry?” makes it sound as though one is thinking that He is angry all the time, through all eternity.

The Psalmist is asking for mercy.  Do I need mercy?  Definitely.  Do you need mercy?  Yes.  The human race needs mercy.  Jesus said,

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7).

There seems to be a mistaken belief that God could never be angry.  “How could a loving God be angry?” is the assumptive question.  How could a loving God never be angry? would be my question and thought.  If you love and someone hurts what you love does that not make you angry?

God loves His children.  He has proven that by the cross of Christ.  He poured out His anger upon His only begotten, sinless, spotless Son as He bled and died on the cross.  Now He declares all who come to Him through Jesus Christ “Righteous”.

The writer of Hebrews has written,

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

I am blessed to be in the hands of the living God.  I do not want God to be angry with me.  Like David I ask for His mercy.  It is found in Christ.

Hearts in the Kingdom

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:’ but I say unto you, ‘That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council:’ but whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool,’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, ‘Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.'”  ~Jesus (Matthew 21-26)

Words for Christian Living – Bless the LORD

 “I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Psalm 34:1 (KJV)

As Christians we are daily, constantly being blessed by God.  How often, however, do we think of Blessing God?  The phrase “Bless the LORD” is used mostly in Psalms, and occurs about 17 times; with one of those times reading “Bless ye the LORD” (Psalm 103:21). The phrase is used at least three more times in the rest of the Old Testament.  The Psalmist was a blessing to God, and blessed God.

How does the Christian bless the LORD?  First of all we fear the LORD.  In fearing God we love Him, obey His commands because we love Him.  In these things we speak words that honor Him.  We live a life that honors and glorifies Him.

Secondly, we lift up the name of Jesus in praise; not as a swear word.  Shame on the Christian who would ever use the name of Jesus Christ as an expression of anger, passion, or frustration.

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.”  Psalm 48:1-7 (KJV)

Bless the LORD.

Words for Christian Living – Edification

“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.”  2 Corinthians 13:10 (KJV)

A lot of times as a pastor, preacher of the gospel there will be times things within the Church, the local congregation you lead with strike up a hot response in your heart.  There are things that go on sometimes that ought to make us angry.  We see a family angry at another family; one member mad with another member; and they are casting insults at one another.  Maybe one member maligning another when the other being maligned is not guilty of much, or anything that is being charged.  It could be a member you know is in personal sin.  These things should cause some anger, with self-control [temperance] from the pastor, preacher.

In the above verse Paul has expressed that he should use “Sharpness”  or “Severe reproofs and censures… the exercise of the apostolic rod” (John Gill Commentary e-Sword).  You will note his words though “To edification”.  It should never be the intent of correction, reproof, rebuke to destroy; but to always edify.  To build up takes more effort than tearing down.  Sometimes tearing down is necessary, but the ultimate end is for “Edification”

The Redeeming Love of GOD – Hosea 13:1 – 14:9

The Redeeming Love of God

The Healing Love of GOD

Hosea 13:1 – 14:9

In the study of Hosea we have seen that the doom of Israel/Ephraim was certain.  They had rejected God’s ways for their lives, and their nation’s continued prosperity.  Instead, they began to trust their prosperity and abilities, and began  to build their own gods.  God sent prophets to warn them.  Certainly, there were individuals who turned [repented], but as a whole the nation was corrupt.

We will find in this message that the indulgence of sin has eternal consequences.  Sin has the power to destroy forever, a nation, or an individual.  God in His grace, however, provides a way to defeat the power of sin.  Sin’s power could destroy Israel forever; however, God was not through with them.  He would raise them up to fulfill His glorious purpose.

“When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, ‘Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.’ Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”  Hosea 13:1-3 (KJV)

Ephraim has been used throughout Hosea to represent the total land of Israel.  Now it appears to be speaking of the tribe.  They have gone from glory to shame.

Ephraim was a respected tribe, and spoke with authority.  Joshua the son of Nun was of the tribe or Ephraim (Numbers 13:8, 16).  He, as you may remember, was Moses’ successor who would lead the people into Canaan, the land of promise.  He would lead them in battle, and the settling of the land.  By this tribe’s faithfulness to God they were exalted among all the people.

When Israel split as a nation, Jereboam also of the tribe of Ephraim, led the people into the worship of false deities, and rejected the true Go.  Because of this they would die.

Molten images, the work of their own hands, became the object of their worship.  Because of this they would soon disappear, as the chaff of whet, smoke from the chimney, the early dew, and the morning cloud.

“Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but Me: for there is no saviour beside Me. I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten Me. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”  Hosea 13:4-8 (KJV)

God would go from being their Saviour; to being their Destroyer.

From the time that Moses came back to the land of Egypt to the time of Canaan God brought them through.  He worked powerfully  in their deliverance from Egypt.  He fed them, gave them water to drink, even when there was no water He was their source of supply.

God blessed them abundantly in the “Promised land”, and they soon forgot Him.  They began to neglect the reminders of His deliverance for other things.  Afterwards, they began to reject God’s will and way for them.  Finally, they would forget God and be destroyed.

God would become to them as ravenous beasts seeking its prey.  The lion is strong and brave.  The leopard is an animal of stealth and speed, sometimes lying in wait to surprise its helpless prey.  The mother bear is extremely dangerous, especially, if she thinks her cubs are in danger (Proverbs 17:12).  They would be torn and ripped to pieces because of their sin.

There is hope for them. Because there would be a remnant left from which to accomplish  God’s purposes.

“O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help. I will be thy King: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities, and thy judges of whom thou saidst, ‘Give me a king and princes?’  I gave thee a king in Mine anger, and took him away in My wrath.”  Hosea 13:9-11 (KJV)

They went away from God as King to destructive leaders.

Israel, was destroying themselves.  It began when they determined to be life “Other nations” and wanted a king (1 Samuel 8:1-7).  God was their King.  In their unbelief they rejected God as King, and chose to have a foolish, and obstinate man rule over them.

Sure, God anointed Saul as king, but Go also knew that Saul would be representative fo the majority of the kings in Israel.  In his rebellion and pride he rejected God’s way.

“The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”  Hosea 13:12-16 (KJV)

The judgment of God is not fro revenge, nor only punitive.  In judgment He seeks to redeem.

“The iniquity… is bound up” is communicating to us that God has a record of Israel’s/Ephraim’s sin.  They cannot hide it (v. 12).

God likens their judgment to that of a woman giving birth to a child.  He is a stubborn child.  Unwilling to be born into what God desires, causing greater pain for his mother.  The child represents the individual – the mother Israel.  Before the nation can be healed, the individual must repent and accept the ways of God (v. 13).

“Death ultimately involves eternal punishment in hell (‘The second death’) for those who refuse God’s redemption (Revelation 20:13-15).  Taken together in the larger biblical context, Sheol and death picture sin’s power to demand the penalty of eternal death.  In the case of the people of Hosea’s day, Sheol and death would be the power of their sin to destroy them forever as God’s  people.”  John Traylor page 120.

God was determined to redeem Israel.  He would ultimately do that through the death of His Son Jesus on the cross.  Placing all the sins of mankind upon Him, God put the power of sin to death.  Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”  (NKJV)

The law of God demands eternal death because of sin.  God says, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave.”  See 1 Corinthians 15:55-56.  God would raise Israel up once again.  God would have compassion  on them (v. 14).

Death, through judgment would have to come before resurrection.  This shows the power of God to redeem.  When there is no hope that appears, there is hope and possibility in God.  He is the God of resurrection – of New Life.

“O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto Him, ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘Ye are our gods: for in Thee the fatherless findeth mercy.'”  Hosea 14:1-3 (KJV)

God calls for Israel to truly repent.

Forget the rituals, the gifts of offering, and sacrifices.  Offer to God “Words”.  Not empty and vain words, but “Words” of a heart that is truly broken and repentant.  Life that is changed, turned around, by God is true repentance.

Israel had to turn around to realize there was no hope in anyone or anything, but God.  In God is mercy, grace, and hope.

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From Me is thy fruit found.”  Hosea 14:4-8 (KJV)

After true repentance great things begin to occur.

Remember, God has brought them to repentance.  God heals their backsliding hearts. Now, they cling only to Him.

Israel would experience the fullness of God’s love.  There will be no need for His anger any longer.  God is their source of refreshment, and blessing.  The bringing forth of this fruit is the result of their trusting in God.

“Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”  Hosea 14:9 (KJV)

The word of, and the way of the Wise.

The Wise receive the redemption of God, and stop depending on false gods.

Hosea points the one who is wise to the love and joy of our Saviour.  There is life in God’s way.  Death awaits the foolish who reject God’s way of life.  Jesus said,  “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man [no one] cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”  (John 14:6)  Someone once said, “Without the Way there is no going; without the Truth there is no knowing; without the Life there  is no living.”  The way is hard it is not easy.  The truth is all you can trust.  The life is eternal through faith in this One who died for our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The One Who Delights in Mercy

Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy.  He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.  Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.”  Micah 7:18-20 (KJV)

The God of the Bible; Old and New Testament is now, has always been, and forever shall be the merciful GOD.  “He delights in mercy” are part of the words written above.

Every living being on earth in the past, present and future have experienced His mercy.  We have no right to His mercy.  We do not deserve His mercy.  We cannot earn it.  He gives it without us even taking note of it.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

Someone has said, “Mercy is not receiving what we actually deserve.  Wrath.  Grace is receiving from God what we do not deserve.  Love, forgiveness of sin.”  That is pretty close anyway.  God loves His creation, and has sent His only beloved Son to die for our sins, and to raise Him to life again that we all might be made just in the eyes of God.  All who will believe on Him.

-T.A.

The Angry Prophet

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, ‘I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.  Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech Thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”  Jonah 4:1-3 (KJV)

This prophet who despised the people to whom the LORD had sent him, did not want to see this people forgiven, but rather his desire was to see this mass of people destroyed.  The LORD was having mercy on Nineveh, when He saw their repentance.  Due to their sin Nineveh was destroyed about 100 years later.

Of all things for a preacher to become angry about.  People getting right with God, and changing their hearts and minds about the way they were living.  That is why preachers preach.  There are things worth getting angry about for the preacher.  The murder of the innocent unborn.  The slavery of women and children around the world.  The captivity of drugs, alcohol, gambling, and pornography; and its destruction to our society.  There are many other things for which the preacher to be angry.  Rejoice, however, when people repent of their sins and get right with God.

To give us little bit of background on Jonah; he was a patriot of Israel.  He loved his nation.  He loved his God; and Nineveh was the enemy to himself, his nation and his God.

Let me just end by asking this question:  Is patriotism; love for one’s country more important than following the call and will of God?  I leave the answer with the reader.

-T.A.

Chief of Sinners

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.  Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Timothy 1:12-17 (KJV)

It is quite often we make judgments about other people’s sins.  There is a time and place for doing so, and that is after we have first examined our own lives; to be sure we are not guilty of sin; the same sin as the one we accuse.  We also need to know “I am a sinner” too, and be gracious and merciful in our judgment.

I heard the story of a preacher who had been experiencing great trouble in the church congregation.  Accusations of others sins; bitterness, and anger against others.  It had not bee too pleasant for any in that church; then, one morning following his sermon, the preacher announced, “In this evening’s service I am going to declare the greatest sinner  in this church, and the biggest problem of this congregation.  The people passed the day with anticipation.  They were eager to return to evening service that night.  “Who could it be?” was the chief thing on their mind.  “Who would the preacher declare to be the greatest offense to this church?”  It came time for the meeting, all eyes were looking elsewhere with questioning eyes, asking, “Is it my neighbor?”, “Is it the deacon?”, “Is it… ___________?”  The preacher stepped into the pulpit, began his sermon; and when he ended the message he ended by saying,  “I promised to tell you who the greatest sinner was this evening, and I will.  It is me.”

Paul the apostle saw himself as the chief of sinners.  That is how every Christian should view sin.  I have no right to condemn my brother, sister, or my lost neighbor.  We are to see ourselves as the greatest offense, the greatest sinner around.  When we see ourselves in the light as sinners having received mercy and grace, then we too can be merciful and gracious.

Just so some will know.  I am not advocating not making wise judgments, but doing so with mercy and grace.  “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

-T.A.

 

God’s Word Today 081212

In this post today I am attempting to post daily.  My post will be from Scripture, the Word of the LORD.  These be come from my reading of God’s Word for the day it is posted.  Hear the word of the LORD.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; the which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.  And the LORD hath sent unto you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear.  They said, ‘Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: and go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke Me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt.  Yet ye have not hearkened unto Me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.  Jeremiah 25:1-7 (KJV)

I will be finishing up the study of Elijah when I can get my thoughts to putting it down in print form.

-T.A.

 

 

Foolish Anger

I have said it here before that there are some who find fault with anger of any kind.  Anger, however, is a god given emotion.  I do believe that you can judge the character of a man or woman by what makes them angry.  Paul the apostle did say, “Be angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).  There is a place for anger.

The child of God should be angry by evil in the world, personal sin, and the destruction that sin, and its cohorts inflict on the world.  Anger because a business wants paid and will not bring you any propane until you pay your last bill is pointless anger, and is certainly not holy.  For a person to become angry for another whose power has been cut off in the cold and the power company will not leave the power on is possibly a good anger; as long as it  is controlled anger.  Controlled anger might mean going and paying up the bill for the one who owes it; if possible.  If not possible find a way to help.

I was reading Proverbs 12 this morning and the following verse caught my attention,

“A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.”  Proverbs 12:16 (KJV)

There are some who get angry about the smallest things, and will voice their anger in public, private, business, home, church, etc., and just let their foolishness be seen by all.  It is one of those occasions where you remember the saying, “It is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

It is kind of sad, but you can tell people who are angry.  Their countenance tells me they are angry.  Bitterness, anger not dealt with, envy, hatred, malice seem to all fit together.  Let me leave you with the commentary of Matthew Henry on Proverbs 12:16 :

Note, 1. Passion is folly: A fool is known by his anger (so some read it); not but that a wise man may be angry when there is just cause for it, but then he has his anger under check and direction, is lord of his anger, whereas a fool’s anger lords it over him. He that, when he is provoked, breaks out into indecent expressions, in words or behaviour, whose passion alters his countenance, makes him outrageous, and leads him to forget himself, Nabal certainly is his name and folly is with him. A fool’s indignation is known in the day; he proclaims it openly, whatever company he is in. Or it is known in the day he is provoked; he cannot defer showing his resentments. Those that are soon angry, that are quickly put into a flame by the least spark, have not that rule which they ought to have over their own spirits. 2. Meekness is wisdom: A prudent man covers shame. (1.) He covers the passion that is in his own breast; when his spirit is stirred, and his heart hot within him, he keeps his mouth as with a bridle, and suppresses his resentments, by smothering and stifling them. Anger is shame, and, though a wise man be not perfectly free from it, yet he is ashamed of it, rebukes it, and suffers not the evil spirit to speak. (2.) He covers the provocation that is given him, the indignity that is done him, winks at it, covers it as much as may be from himself, that he may not carry his resentments of it too far. It is a kindness to ourselves, and contributes to the repose of our own minds, to extenuate and excuse the injuries and affronts that we receive, instead of aggravating them and making the worst of them, as we are apt to do.

Remember the Proverbs advice and be prudent.  When you are angry; deal with it, and cover the shame.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Plea of David

“O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.”  Psalm 6:1

There must have been something in David’s life that would cause him to make such a plea.  Yet, there are times we as Christians even make such a plea.  The Psalmist first words are directed to the Self-Existing One YaHWeH or JehovaH who relates to men who are redeemed by Him.

No one longs for the rebuke of the LORD, nor His anger; and God does get angry and is angry with sin and evil; because it is against everything He is.  None of us long to experience the “hot displeasure” of GOD.

His displeasure is directed toward any sin that may be in our lives.  He will do whatever it takes to rid us of our sin.

Let me give you a portion of what Charles H. Spurgeon writes of this Psalm, particularly verse 1 –

 “O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger.” The Psalmist is very conscious that he deserves to be rebuked, and he feels, moreover, that the rebuke in some form or other must come upon him, if not for condemnation, yet for conviction and sanctification. “Corn is cleaned with wind, and the soul with chastenings.” It were folly to pray against the golden hand which enriches us by its blows. He does not ask that the rebuke may be totally withheld, for he might thus lose a blessing in disguise; but, “Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger.” If thou remindest me of my sin, it is good; but, oh, remind me not of it as one incensed against me, lest thy servant’s heart should sink in despair. Thus saith Jeremiah, “O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.” I know that I must be chastened, and though I shrink from thy rod yet do I feel that it will be for my benefit; but, oh, my God, “chasten me not in thy hot displeasure,” lest the rod become a sword, and lest in smiting, thou shouldest also kill. So may we pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are “not in anger, but in his dear covenant love.”

May we all who are in Christ Jesus find peace in knowing that God finds pleasure in blessing those who will call on His name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Spurgeon: “Thou hatest wickedness”

The following is from “Morning and Evening” devotions by Charles H. Spurgeon.  The morning reading for May 29.

Psalm 45:7
Thou hatest wickedness.

“Be ye angry, and sin not.” There can hardly be goodness in a man if he be not angry at sin; he who loves truth must hate every false way. How our Lord Jesus hated it when the temptation came! Thrice it assailed Him in different forms, but ever He met it with, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” He hated it in others; none the less fervently because He showed His hate oftener in tears of pity than in words of rebuke; yet what language could be more stern, more Elijah-like, than the words, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer.” He hated wickedness, so much that He bled to wound it to the heart; He died that it might die; He was buried that He might bury it in His tomb; and He rose that He might for ever trample it beneath His feet. Christ is in the Gospel, and that Gospel is opposed to wickedness in every shape. Wickedness arrays itself in fair garments, and imitates the language of holiness; but the precepts of Jesus, like His famous scourge of small cords, chase it out of the temple, and will not tolerate it in the Church. So, too, in the heart where Jesus reigns, what war there is between Christ and Belial! And when our Redeemer shall come to be our Judge, those thundering words, “Depart, ye cursed” which are, indeed, but a prolongation of His life-teaching concerning sin, shall manifest His abhorrence of iniquity. As warm as is His love to sinners, so hot is His hatred of sin; as perfect as is His righteousness, so complete shall be the destruction of every form of wickedness. O thou glorious champion of right, and destroyer of wrong, for this cause hath God, even Thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.

My prayer is that God will use these words to convict us to hate sin as He hates sin.

-posted by 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

Hand Stretched Out Still

God has spoken of grace and mercy to His people, and they have refused it.  The prophet ever faithful to proclaim the  truth of God’s Word to those people must surely grow frustrated.  The prophet has told them of a light that is coming (9:2), he has told them of a Child that will be born, and His name will be called Immanuel (7:14), and yet there is no repentance; no returning to God

God is preparing to send judgment upon the nation of Judah and Israel; it seems in small doses at first, then what ever is needed.  There are some who have a problem with the thought of “God pursuing His people”, but it seems to me that that is exactly what He does.

God is angry with sin.  He hates sin. Not only does sin distract from the glory of God, but it also breaks fellowship between God and His people.  Those who think that God does not judge sin does not know the God of the Bible.  He will accomplish His purposes and fulfill His glory.

In chapter nine of Isaiah the following words are written three times, and one time in chapter ten:

“For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 9:12,17, 21 and 10:4 (NKJV).

The LORD will perform His Word.  There will be nothing left undone which God has spoken.  His anger will not be turned away until the people of God find their rest, peace, hope, and faith in Him (See chapter 12 of Isaiah).

God is never glorified by the sin of His people, but He will be glorified as He exposes it, judges it, and purges it from the lives of His people.  The people of God should never reach a state of mind, or heart where they think they have gotten away with sin.  The man Moses, inspired by God’s Spirit wrote, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

We are told in the Psalms, “God is angry with the wicked everyday” (Psalm 7:11).  The wicked would be those who hear the Word of God spoken by the prophets, and the written word, refuse to hear it, refuse to obey, and refuse to follow the way of God.  Does God get angry with His people?  He gets angry with our sin, and He judges it.

“…But His hand is stretched out still” is a part of the verse that is somewhat mysterious.  Jabez prayed, “…That Thine hand might be with me…” (1 Chronicles 4:10).  The hand of God can be good or it can be bad.  I would prefer His hand be good toward me.  That hand of God can be used for gentle nudgings in the right direction, steering away from a wrong direction.  That hand can be for a comforting, encouraging touch.  The prophet mentions later in his writing “…I the shadow of His hand hath He hid me…” (49:2).  That is a great place to be.  That hand could be used for a good whipping for discipline, chastisement, and/or punishment.

I see in the statement, “God’s anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still”, that God will continue to be angry with their sin, and He will continue to judge it; His hand is stretched out in judgment even as Isaiah speaks and writes, even as I write today; and His hand is stretched out with an open palm, as an invitation to return to Him.

Why do God’s people continue in sin when they know God’s hand is judging, yet He has an open palm to take you back into His fellowship; and He will love you and nourish you and give you strength.

As long as you have breath to breathe, God’s hand is stretched out to you.  To those who have never received God’s grace through His Son Jesus Christ that invitation is to believe in Him who died, was buried and rose again for your justification.  Justification simply means that through the sacrifice of Jesus you are declared Just by God Himself.

Will you continue in your sin, or will you believe, repent, and be saved?  God has given you the choice to make.  Choose Jesus.  The hand stretched out.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Hand Of Love

In previous articles in the fifth chapter we have seen that the prophet has likened the people of Judah to a vineyard that had been planted, and nothing come from it but wild grapes. They have been raised up by God, and they have turned from God, and gone their own way, thus bringing on themselves the six woes that has been pronounced against them.

The judges were guilty of accepting bribes following their heavy drinking, and debauchery; then, allowing the guilty to go free and condemning the just. It sounds somewhat familiar to me. I pray it is not entirely that bad in the United States, but if things continue as they are and the nation continues to drift further and further away from God. That will increase.

Now we look at verses 24 and 25 of chapter five. “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.  Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 5:24-25 (KJV)

 

The New Testament reminds us of whom the Lord chastises: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards [illegitimate], and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8 (KJV) The brackets [] are mine.

The LORD of hosts, the Holy One of Israel is holy indeed. Those two names are mentioned by the prophet to make a clear statement to all who will hear. The statement is clearly that Judah has offended the God of their salvation; their deliverance; by rejecting His law. O, they prided themselves in having the law, and the temple, but by turning from the God of Israel, they rejected the very thing which they held dear.

The LORD God desires that His hand hold, protect, guide, comfort, heal, provide, and encourage; and probably a lot many more pleasant things. In our text we see His hand instead judging. He likens them to fire devouring stubble, dry grass sinking down in the flame; and as rotten roots, that dries up, and any blossom goes like dust to the wind. “He stretched out His hand against them and struck them…” We must realize the Holy One of Israel finds no pleasure in judging His people. God desires to bless His people exceedingly.

 

The last part of verse 25, tells us that God’s anger is not turned away. His anger toward sin in His people cannot be turned away. If the Holy One turned away from judging sin He would no longer be holy. No longer be the Holy One. Because He is holy He judges sin, and especially in those who are His. There are many who profess to be God’s people who choose to live as they please in sin, debauchery, and all forms of wickedness, and enjoy their sin. Their profession is false; unless, their is conviction from the Holy One that makes them miserable in their sin. If they are miserable in sin, then, they are not enjoying the sinful life. A couple of thoughts on this; first, God will do whatever it takes to make His people holy; second, God is pleased to save you where and as you are, but He loves you so much that He will not leave you where and as you are.

The verse tells us that the “mountains quaked” when He struck them, and their “corpses as refuse in the midst of the streets”. How sad that the people of God could end up so judged. His anger is still not turned away. His hand is stretched out still. He is still judging the Nation of Israel. There is further judgment coming.

People who name the Name of Jesus. Look to Him and live. Live for Him and do not be judged. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart”. When you turn from Him you  trust in yourself, and other idols.

 

“Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people, and He stretched out His hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 5:24-25 (ESV).

 

-Tim A. Blankenship

Though It Be Told You…

THE FIRST PROMISE

Habakkuk 1:5

“ Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”

We have read and written a little of the five “Woes” of Habakkuk, and they are pronouncements of judgment against Babylon. They are not woes against Judah. The promises are for Judah, but this first one is probably not in the way one would hope.

Remember the prophet was questioning how God could use an unholy people to judge the people of God who were supposed to be holy.

We sometimes do not understand why there is such wickedness in the world and why such bad things happen to “good people”, while it seems that the wicked go without judgment, pain or sorrow. Some of them, as far as the things of the world are concerned have all their hearts could ever desire. My thought on that is – remember this will be the only place they can enjoy their life unless they come to faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They then, will be paying throughout all eternity.

When God’s people turn a disobedient ear to His Word and His messengers, ie., the prophets, then He will open the gates to let evil men, nations and influences come in and be a thorn in the sides of His people. When was the last time you turned a deaf ear to the Word of the Lord or His prophet? Has things changed since that time? Has it been for the better or the worse? I would imagine it was for the worse.

One problem I see with many Christians today is they are crying out to see the mighty hand of God; to see a mighty move of God; and they are not seeing it. He is working. He is moving. He is first of all calling those who say they know Him to be bold in their faith and convictions. He is calling us to stand bravely for Christ in a wicked world that is sliding into Hell and that slippery slope is getting more and more slippery, and they are sliding with great speed into the dungeon of death everlasting.

Those who hate God and His Son Jesus are called upon to “Behold… and regard, and wonder marvelously”. What do the unbeliever’s see in us? Do they see faith, hope, and love; or do they see bitterness, anger, wrath, malice, filthy mouths, lying lips, sowing of discord among brethren, etc.?

The first promise we hear is that God is going to work a work in those who hate God’s people. That God is going to work a work in His own people, even, which will be hard to believe, because it is so marvelous. That work will be the bringing of “Woes” upon them, and using them to accomplish His purposes in God’s people. That work will be worked in God’s people as well.

-by Tim A. Blankenship