How Are Your Thoughts and Attitude?

“Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast declared Thy strength among the people. Thou hast with Thine arm redeemed Thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.” Psalm 77:13-15 (KJV)

This Psalmist, Asaph, has begun the Psalm feeling a bit sorry for himself. His thoughts are on his own life situation, and he is addressing the LORD, but only about his aches and pains of heart and soul. That is the place we all need to take them; but when we have encountered God those thoughts, attitudes will perish.

You alone are in charge of your attitude. It begins with your thoughts. If you are driving to work on one of these busy freeways in the cities, and someone rudely cuts you off; when the traffic is moving quite well; you say, “That affects my attitude”; but does it? It can. It is however your personal responsibility to redirect your thinking toward a different attitude.

The Psalmist began with sorrow, and basically a pity party with God; but he ended up focusing on the LORD; and he saw things completely different.

Asaph began to focus his thoughts on the strength of God; His deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea; and he saw the awesome, power and glory of God. In the verses ending this Psalm, the Psalmist describes the sea as being fearful of the LORD and parting at His appearance. He describes thunder, lightening, and trembling and shaking of the earth.

Oh my; when we see the power and glory of God all our problems melt away. Our thinking and our attitudes will reflect the glory of the LORD. All this begins with having a personal encounter with God through His Son Jesus. There is no other way (John 14:6). There is only one cross, one Saviour, one resurrected Lord, and one returning Lord of lords and King of kings. His name is Jesus.

So what is your problem today?

House of Glory

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 (KJV)

There is nothing more glorious than the glory of the LORD. There are more details given us in the Chronicles of the building of Solomon’s temple than in the Kings, and these details are helpful to us; and to the generations which returned from captivity.

Thinking of the “glory of the LORD” it would be good to remember the events of 1 Samuel 4:11-22. Remember the ark of the covenant represents the person, power and glory of God.

It would also be good to read Matthew 23:37 – 24:1. Jesus is the Person of the glory of God. His name “Immanuel” meaning “God with us”. Also see Hebrews 1:1-3.

If Jesus Christ; the Son of God, God the Son; is not present the glory is gone.

The Enemy of God

“Keep not Thou silence, O God: hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, Thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head.” Psalm 83:1-2 (KJV)

This song of Asaph is directed toward the Godhead (Colossians 1:16-19), to ‘El, the Mighty One of the Godhead.  It appears that Asaph has been feeling like God is being silent, in the midst of facing the enemy of Israel.

Like Asaph when we feel like God is being silent we need to see our enemy as God’s enemy; and God’s enemy as our enemy.  The Prime Minister of Israel in his recent speech to a Joint Session of Congress made the statement, “So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy”.  Christian the enemy of God is definitely your enemy.

The psalmist calls for God to fight against His enemies. Do you desire to hear God speak on the matter of your troubles and heart aches; even sometimes of our own making?  Then, you can cry out to Him.We must understand though that the enemies of God are not our troubles.

The enemies of God are those who seek to through down every principle of holiness, godliness, righteousness, justice, peace, and love of God.  The enemy of God is evil, and unrighteousness, and every vain thing that seeks to exalt itself against the LORD (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).  We must not rely on the flesh of men – even our own – to deliver us from the enemy of God.

Remember that God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day.  He is returning soon to rid the word of all unrighteousness.  Trust Him today.

GOD, Among the Mighty

“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods.” Psalm 82:1 (KJV)

There are many on the earth who are made so by men; in governments whether in cities, states, provinces, or nations.  Guess what God stands among them.

O how our leaders need to stop and realize that God is overlooking all their affairs.  Do you believe He is pleased?  There is coming a day of judgment.  He knows when a payment is received to make a godless, ungodly law.

God (the fulness of the Godhead; Colossians 1:17-19) also judges the gods which men erect, which may be monuments to glorify men. In our own day it could be our technology, our science, our wealth, our medicine.  God judged the gods of Egypt and showed  them to be without authority and power (Exodus 12:12;  Numbers 33:4).

One day the governments of men will be put in place, and all our “achievements” will be seen to be vain; and God will be glorified.

There are many mighty men in the earth, but all those who exalt themselves against the Lord will be brought down.

The Lord Jesus Christ; the crucified, buried, resurrected, and coming King will be the Judge.

Believe Him today.

Sing Unto GOD

“Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.” Psalm 81:1 (KJV)

Singing was probably what Asaph was about. He must have loved music and singing; especially unto the Lord.  We have many of the Psalms with his name on them.

Music and singing has a way of redirecting our thoughts.  Music can inspire us, motivate us, drive us; sometimes even toward wrong thinking.

The Song Book of the Bible – Psalms – is a great example of what music and singing can do for the soul and the heart.

The Christian is to sing aloud unto God who is our strength.  We are to make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.  When we realize that God is our strength we can truly sing.  Sometimes even though we do not feel like it, we ought to sing until we do feel like it.

That He is called “the God of Jacob” ought to assure us that no matter what we may think or do He is still our God.  The word ‘Elohiym is used here, and is speaking of the fulness of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Sing unto Him.  Be joyful, and make a joyful noise unto Him.  God loves you.  Sing.

Shepherd

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.” Psalm 80:1 (KJV)

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus sweetest name I know.  He fills my every longing.  He keeps me singing as I go.

The Shepherd of Israel is none other than Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.  Jesus can be seen as the Shepherd as He feeds the five thousand men (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14; John 6:10), and as He fed the four thousand men (Matthew 15:38; Mark 8:9).  Notice in those verses where He commanded that they sit down on the grass.

His glory is seen as the one who dwells betwee the cherubims.  They were the ones who are formed bowing on the mercy seat facing one another with their faces toward the ark of the covenant, which represents the presence of GOD.  The ark itself is the representation of the fulness of the Godhead.

“The LORD is my shepherd;  I shall not want.”  Psalm 23:1

Is the Lord Jesus your Shepherd today?  He will give ear to you when you call on Him.

Profaned

“O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.” Psalm 79:1 (KJV)

This Psalm is another of Asaph’s a patriotic poet of the day.  One who had a heart for God, and God’s people.  One who was grieved at seeing the land of Israel defiled; profaned; by unholy feet and hands.

This Psalm seems to have been written concerning the invasion of Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar’s leadership.  Of course we know this as the judgment of God on Israel for previously becoming unholy in their practices.  The prophet Jeremiah addressed this matter in his prophecy.

For those who have a heart for God and His holiness, knowing that it is God’s judgment on His own people does not ease the pain of seeing the unclean heathen nation coming in a taking it over; even removing the holy articles from the temple.

One thing we Christians can learn from this is that when a nation has been blessed by God, and turns its back on God, His word, His law, and His Spirit; then God will send invaders in judgment.

The Church has been profaned today by crossless, bloodless, Christless, unholy preaching.  Preaching that magnifies men rather than God.  It ought to grieve the hearts of men and women of God everywhere.  We ought to cry out with Asaph,

“O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.” Psalm 79:1 (KJV)

Words for Instruction

“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” Psalm 78:1 (KJV)

We all need instruction.  Some of us are not always open to instruction.  We can see that as we read the first five books of the Bible; the writtings of Moses as he is inspired by the Spirit of God.  This Psalm is once again the writing of Asaph.  Called a Maschil of Asaph.  Of this Psalm Spurgeon has written of the title:

“This is rightly entitled an instruction Psalm.  It is not a mere recapitulation of important events in Israelitish history, but is intended to be viewed as a parable setting forth the conduct and experience of believers in all ages.  It is a singular proof of the obtuseness of mind of many professors that they will object to sermons and expositions upon the historical parts of Scripture, as if they contained no instruction in spiritual matters: were such persons truly enlightened by the Spirit of God, they would perceive that all Scripture is profitable, and would blush at their own folly in understanding any portion of the inspired volume.”

from the title. –Maschil of Asaph. THE TREASURY OF DAVID

Even though these are Asaph’s words to the people of God they are also God’s word for His people of all ages.

Asaph’s law would have been God’s law for Israel.  The “words of my mouth” which Asaph writes would have been the words of God.  Asaph speaking according to the word of God.  Christians are to give ear to the law of God.  The Christian is to always have an ear to hear the words of God which proceed from the teachers and preachers who preach the whole counsel of God.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This could even imply that we are to hear the wise, godly, Biblical counsel of the founding fathers of our nation.  Something to think about.

The Scriptures speak clearly of who Jesus is.  He is more than a teacher. He is more than a prophet.  He is more than a good man.  He is the Son of God, and God the Son.  He is the Lord and Saviour of all the world.  Hear His word.

GOD Hears

“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and He gave ear unto me.” Psalm 77:1 (KJV)

Another of the Psalms of Asaph.  Of this verse Spurgeon from The Treasury of David has written,

“I cried unto God with my voice.” This Psalm has much sadness in it, but we may be sure it will end well, for it begins with prayer, and prayer never has an ill issue. Asaph did not run to man but to the Lord, and to him he went, not with studied, stately, stilted words, but with a cry, the natural, unaffected, unfeigned expression of pain. He used his voice also, for though vocal utterance is not necessary to the life of prayer, it often seems forced upon us by the energy of our desires. Sometimes the soul feels compelled to use the voice, for thus it finds a freer vent for its agony. It is a comfort to hear the alarm-bell ringing when the house is invaded by thieves. “Even unto God with my voice.” He returned to his pleading. If once sufficed not, he cried again. He needed an answer, he expected one, he was eager to have it soon, therefore he cried again and again, and with his voice too, for the sound helped his earnestness. “And he gave ear unto me.” Importunity prevailed. The gate opened to the steady knock. It shall be so with us in our hour of trial, the God of grace will hear us in due season.

In the times of our grief, or sorrow, or fear; let us flee to God, not to men.  Let us search out the word of God; and find our peace in Him, and He hears us.

God is Known

“In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel.” Psalm 76:1 (KJV)

It is a worthwhile calling to make God known to the world.  It is one thing for those who know God to know Him; but to know Him also calls for those to make Him known by others who might desire to know Him.

God desires that the world know Him.  He is not into self-propagation of prophets who proclaim a god who gives us all good things, and is unholy.  God is holy, and when we stand holy in Him gives us the desires of our heart; that is the things He desires become our desires.

The Bible from Genesis through Revelation 22 is about God making Himself known to the world.  In the prophecy of Ezekiel the prophet uses the phrase, “…they shall know that I am the LORD” over 60 times in those 48 chapters.

It is a great honor to know God; and to know His name and it is a great name.  It is a more wonderful thing to be known by Him.  His name is great in His people.

The following is a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary,

I. In the revelation God had made of himself to them, Psa_76:1. It is the honour and privilege of Judah and Israel that among them God is known, and where he is known his name will be great. God is known as he is pleased to make himself known; and those are happy to whom he discovers himself – happy people that have their land filled with the knowledge of God, happy persons that have their hearts filled with that knowledge. In Judah God was known as he was not known in other nations, which made the favour the greater, inasmuch as it was distinguishing, Psa_147:19, Psa_147:20.

Every child of God is given the privilege to reveal God to the world around us.  They are responsible for their own choices.  Live your life that others may see God at work in you.

Thanks, and Thanks Again

“Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks: for that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare.” Psalm 75:1 (KJV)

One day a year the United States of America has a day of Thanksgiving.  I believe a few other Nations also have a day of Thanksgiving some time in the year.

It is an awesome thing to thank the LORD God.  He is worthy of our thanksgiving and our praise.  Are you a grateful person?  Do you thank God every morning as you get out of bed for a new day; for the chance to start over?  Do you thank Him for the sunrise, or do you curse it?  If you curse the new day, you are guaranteed a rough day.

All it takes for the child of God to be thankful is not out of obedience, but seeing the glories of God’s creation around us.  His works do declare that He is near.  Look at the birds as they soar, and fly through the air, and the sky.  Listen to them as they sing their praises every morning, and all day long.  Look at the wonders in the weather; the beauty, and the purity of the snow, falling and covering all the imperfections that are on the ground and in the trees.  Thank Him.

For the Christian thanks is the way to begin the day, and end the day.  It is even the way to live through the day.

As the apostle Paul has written,

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

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.

The Clean Heart

“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.” Psalm 73:1 (KJV)

The Psalm is a song of Asaph.  A collector.  A Song writer.  A musician of the temple.  There are a few of the Psalms attributed to Asaph.  A man who loved God.

To have a clean heart, a pure heart ought to be the desire of every child of God, every Christian.  Yes we are saved by grace, but that grace is powerful enough not to leave us in our sin and rebellion.

God is good to Israel, and to all who know Israel’s God, and are known by Him.  Here is what has been written concerning “perfect hearts” that is a pure, clean heart;

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

Do you have a clean, pure heart?  Do you desire a clean, pure heart; a perfect heart?  Hear what Jesus says,

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

Believe what God says.  Trust His gift of salvation to mankind.  Trust His Son Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross.  See Romans 10:9-13.

The LORD Has Spoken

“The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.” Psalm 50:1 (KJV)

Of this Psalm, and of this verse Matthew Henry has written,

It is probable that Asaph was not only the chief musician, who was to put a tune to this psalm, but that he was himself the penman of it; for we read that in Hezekiah’s time they praised God in the words of David and of Asaph the seer, 2Ch_29:30. Here is,
I. The court called, in the name of the King of kings (Psa_50:2): The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken – El, Elohim, Jehovah, the God of infinite power justice and mercy, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God is the Judge, the Son of God came for judgement into the world, and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of judgment. All the earth is called to attend, not only because the controversy God had with his people Israel for their hypocrisy and ingratitude might safely be referred to any man of reason (nay, let the house of Israel itself judge between God and his vineyard, Isa_5:3), but because all the children of men are concerned to know the right way of worshipping God, in spirit and in truth, because when the kingdom of the Messiah should be set up all should be instructed in the evangelical worship, and invited to join in it (see Mal_1:11, Act_10:34), and because in the day of final judgment all nations shall be gathered together to receive their doom, and every man shall give an account of himself unto God.
Matthew Henry Commentary

God is LORD of all the earth.  From the rising of the sun until its going down He rules, and sets the rising and the fall of kings and kingdoms.  His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom.

God’s plan is being fulfilled today, His will for you and me today is to hear Him, and follow His direction and His Holy Spirit.  If you have no ear for GOD or His Word; repent, and believe Him.

Day 40 – Thoughts from Psalms; Riches

Riches are often what many of us think about at times, especially when we are having financially difficult times.  What would we do if we had wealth and riches?  Most of the people I know would end up not having any of it left after they received a big lump sum of money or things; myself included.  I started to write here that I no longer have a desire to be wealthy; however, that would have been a flat out lie.

Millionaire is the word that used to be the catch phrase for being wealthy.  Now it is Billionaire.  There are several Billionaires in the United States of America, and around the world.  Two of the most prominent ones in the U. S. of A. are Bill Gates who has prospered from the founding of the Microsoft corporation; and the other is Warren Buffet,  and I guess Donald Trump is now in the Billionaire category as well.

There are times that those who have not are envious and angry with those who have.  The Psalm I am going to look at today shows that in the heart of a man named Asaph, the writer of this Psalm and the ones that follow through to Psalm 83.  My reading today was Psalms 66 – 79.  Psalm 73 will be our focus for this morning.

“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  Psalm 73:1-3 (KJV)

Asaph realizes that his envy has been to his own detriment.  Envy profits us nothing.  There are many of the wealthy who have worked hard to gain what they have, and of course, have prospered because of good timing, and good planning.  I still believe that is possible for anyone in the U. S. of A.  I do not believe that a person who has their heart set on wealth is going to get wealthy.  Hard work, and willingness to help others have a share go a long ways in this world.

Sadly there is much evil within the gaining of riches.  When one becomes wealthy they can become weaker in faith toward God, if they had it to begin with.  I think it was Jerry Clower who once said, “There is no temptation like wealth to turn your heart away from God”  or something similar to.

Asaph does realize that he is falling, losing his footing because of his envy.  His envy, and any envy you and I may have is an enemy of our heart, soul and life.

A few years ago, a couple I think, Bill Gates challenged all the Billionaires to give away one half of their wealth.  Bill Gates at the time was; on paper; worth over 50 billion dollars, and Warren Buffet about the same.  Giving away half of their wealth would really be a sacrifice to them, would it not? 🙂  The reason I am a bit sarcastic about their giving effort is because the media played it up like they were really making a huge sacrifice.  I saw no sacrifice.  Real sacrifice is when your giving hurts; it cost you something.  I applaud their giving, if they did; but their wealth has not suffered by their generosity.

I applaud even more the husband and wife, or individual who have given faithfully to the LORD, through their local church; and steadily, faithfully given at least ten percent of their wealth.  They are the real bulwarks of our society.  Some have given even more from annual incomes of 10,000 dollars; 20,000 dollars, 30,000 dollars, and they are blessed by their generosity.  Not only that many of these people also give when the community suffers loss due to storms; or give to a friend or neighbor who has lost their jobs, or their homes to a fire.  Those are the real people of wealth and generosity.

Asaph realizes his need is the LORD, and realizes the plight of the ungodly wealthy,

“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.  So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee.   Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand.  Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”  vv.21-24

He realizes he is a recipient of the greatest wealth and richer that can be had by mankind.  That wealth is having the peace of God that passes understanding, and all the wealth of Heaven at our beckoned call; and to know that when we speak with God He hears us.

Asaph ends the Psalm with,

“For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee.  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works.”  vv. 27-28

It is good for all men, even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to draw near to God.  The only way made available to us by God, to Him, is through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  All the giving in the world will not buy Heaven.  It has already been purchased for us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on that cruel, killing cross of calvary. (See 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 36 – Thoughts from Psalms

With my reading yesterday I ventured into the first nine Psalms.  First, let me clear some things up. When we speak of the “Book of Psalms” it is used in the plural.  If we speak of one Psalm it is “Psalm”.  Such as Psalm 1, Psalm 50,  you get the idea.  Psalms has no chapters, they are referred to as Psalms.  There are 150 Psalms in this great Bible Hymnbook.

The Psalms are written by a few different men.  David is the most noted one; then there is Moses who could have  written Psalms 90 – 100; he is noted as having written Psalm 90.  There is a possibility that Daniel wrote Psalm 137, or at least someone who had been taken captive to Babylon.  There is also a fellow by the name of Asaph who wrote some of the Psalms.

The longest Psalm is 119 having 176 verse; and the shortest Psalm is 117 having only 2 verses.

Of course it makes no difference who the human author is; they are here by the inspiration of God; and they are both a corrective instrument of God as well as words of encouragement to all who read them.  It would be great to have heard them sung from the mouths and hearts of those who wrote them.

My reading today was from Psalms 10 – 23.  I am going to rest at Psalm 19 for this post today.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.    The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.   More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.   Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”  Psalm 19:7-11 (KJV)

This Psalm of course, especially in these verses magnify the Law and Word of God.  Notice the words used to convey to us the emphasis of God’s Word.  “Law of the LORD”,  “testimony of the LORD”, “statutes of the LORD”,  “commandments of the LORD”, “fear of the LORD”, and “judgments of the LORD”.  Perfection is the word used by the psalmist speaking of the power to convert.  Its “testimony” makes the simple wise.  Its “statutes” are right and rejoices the heart.  The commandment is “pure” “enlightening the eyes”.  “The fear of the LORD is clean”, and endures forever.  His “judgments”  are true and righteous, and that makes me think of 2 Peter 1:20,

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Included verse 21.

The Word of God is more important for the Christian and their daily walk with God than are three meals of food per day, which is good for the body we abide in.

You will notice too, that the one who walks with God will find that the Word of God is desired more than gold, even the finest gold.  It is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; now that is sweet, and it is for the soul who is in a just state with God.  It can become bitter to the soul who is not righteous in God’s sight.  There is also warning for the “servant” of God; and there is “great reward” for those who keep His Word.

Jesus Christ Son of the Living God said,

“Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.'” John 6:29

The One whom God has sent is, of course His Son Jesus Christ, and He came to die for your sins and mine.  He died on the cross, was buried taking our sin’s guilt, and condemnation away, and arose bodily from the grave justifying those who believe Him, by the Father in Heaven.

Believe the Word of God for they are what testifies of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Listen Up

It is imperative that God’s people listen to Him and His Word.  We will look at Psalm 78:1 today, however I will let some of the preachers of decades, even centuries past give their exposition of this verse:

 “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.”  Psalm 78:1 (KJV)

The first is Matthew Henry,

These verses, which contain the preface to this history, show that the psalm answers the title; it is indeed Maschil—a psalm to give instruction; if we receive not the instruction it gives, it is our own fault. Here,
I. The psalmist demands attention to what he wrote (v. 1): Give ear, O my people! to my law. Some make these the psalmist’s words. David, as a king, or Asaph, in his name, as his secretary of state, or scribe to the sweet singer of Israel, here calls upon the people, as his people committed to his charge, to give ear to his law. He calls his instructions his law or edict; such was their commanding force in themselves. Every good truth, received in the light and love of it, will have the power of a law upon the conscience; yet that was not all: David was a king, and he would interpose his royal power for the edification of his people. If God, by his grace, make great men good men, they will be capable of doing more good than others, because their word will be a law to all about them, who must therefore give ear and hearken; for to what purpose is divine revelation brought our ears if we will not incline our ears to it, both humble ourselves and engage ourselves to hear it and heed it? Or the psalmist, being a prophet, speaks as God’s mouth, and so calls them his people, and demands subjection to what was said as to a law. Let him that has an ear thus hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, Rev. 2:7.

The second C. H. Spurgen from the Treasury of David,

“Give ear, O my people, to my law.” The inspired bard calls on his countrymen to give heed to his patriotic teaching. We naturally expect God’s chosen nation to be first in hearkening to his voice. When God gives his truth a tongue, and sends forth his messengers trained to declare his word with power, it is the least we can do to give them our ears and the earnest obedience of our hearts. Shall God speak, and his children refuse to hear? His teaching has the force of law, let us yield both ear and heart to it. “Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” Give earnest attention, bow your stiff necks, lean forward to catch every syllable. We are at this day, as readers of the sacred records, bound to study them deeply, exploring their meaning, and labouring to practise their teaching. As the officer of an army commences his drill by calling for “Attention,” even so every trained soldier of Christ is called upon to give ear to his words. Men lend their ears to music, how much more then should they listen to the harmonies of the gospel; they sit enthralled in the presence of an orator, how much rather should they yield to the eloquence of heaven.

There is much in Scripture for calling the people of Christ to hear His Word and the Law.  It is necessary in days of darkness for God’s people to be enlightened, because we are people of the light, not of the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD Knows…

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1 (KJV).

This Psalm is one of my favorites.  It is one that lingers in my memory.  I do not know that I set out to purposely memorize it, but it is there.  The collection of the Psalms are words of encouragement, hope, and you see the hearts of the writers of the Psalms.

David is known to be the human author of most of these writings of Biblical poetry, but it is  also known that some of them were written by Moses, Asaph, and maybe another one or two.  We do know and believe that these are words which are inspired by God Himself.  They would not be present in the Canon of Scripture if they were not.

This first verse of the Psalms begins with a “Blessed” or “Happy”.  This would be the individual who is fulfilled.  This individual does not seek ungodly counsel from others, nor do they go to the ungodly seeking godly counsel.

This individual does not have dealings with the rebellious and wicked; taking a bold stand against immorality.  The places where the “Blessed” individual stands is upon the Word of God, in places that lift up the Lord.  The place of the “Blessed” individual’s seating is where God is seated.

The ’scornful’ are those who make a mockery of God, and scoff at all who profess Him and godliness.  An individual usually sits, comfortably where they live.  The “Blessed” individual lives in the presence of the LORD God.

Everyone “Delights” in something.  There is something that you can hardly do without, maybe a new car, new house, new suit of clothes, more money,  more of anything, that you perceive as good.  We can get our hearts set on something, and that becomes our “Delight”.

Gulom of the Lord of the Rings story had his “Delight” on the Ring of power.  J.R. R. Tolkein wrote the story, and it shows an analogy of the power of sin in our lives.  Gulom had been a normal hobbit until the Ring was found and he murdered his friend, took the Ring, and became a creeping, rock crawling, pale, almost sickening being.  The picture is surely that sin will destroy you.  To Gulom, the Ring was his “Precious”.  That was his delight.

In Psalm 1:2 the Psalmist writes, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”  We  have been told in verse one what this individual does not do; now we see what this godly individual does.

She/he holds no “Delight” in the wickedness of the world or its things.  The heart has been reborn.  The more the “Delight” is in the “law of the LORD” the less these things of the world become anything of importance.  The law of the LORD is something the man and woman of God delights in.  They meditate on it day and night.

To wake up thinking Scripturally.  To go to bed at night thinking Biblically.  What a wonderful “Delight” it is.  The Word of God is more precious than anything this world has to give.  DELIGHT IN THE LAW OF THE LORD.  Within its pages you find life and eternal life.  It will take you to the person of Jesus.  Sin will hold no power on you.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  Psalm 1:3 (KJV).

Have you ever noticed trees by streams of water during a drought?  Trees on the hillside away from the streams often begin to look a little dry, and sometimes leaves begin to fade, but the trees by the streams never fade in the heat of drought.  The Psalmist paints us a lovely picture of the follower of Christ Jesus who stays in, abides in, continues in the Word of God.  He/She “delights in the law of the LORD”, and when troubles come they just keep on ticking.

The fruit will keep on coming despite droughts, despite hardships, and even despite the storms, though the storms may cause severe damage.  The one who keeps themselves in the Word, the law, the way of the LORD will also prosper in all they do.  Do remember that prosperity is not always in things, but peace, comfort, encouragement, love, wisdom, grace, mercy, etc..

Just as the tree planted by the rivers of water is always at the mercy of the stream which flows by so too is the follower at the mercy of the One whose Word we read, hear and practice.  We/You are always in His hands.

There is such evil in our world at times.  Murders happen each and every day and even in each hour of the day.  Some of which we never hear about.  There are many crimes done to other human beings, of whom all are made in the image and likeness of God, and by God Himself.  He alone gives life, and He alone can justly take a life.

“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”  Psalm 1:4 (KJV).

We have seen the blessedness of the one who walks with God, and that she/he delights in the law [Word] of the LORD meditating in it day and night; and that this individual is like a tree planted by the rivers of water.  Now that is quite refreshing to a child of God; to know that whatsoever they do shall prosper.

There is a somewhat sad statement, yet, a statement that should encourage us as well.  The encouraging thing about verse four is that God will judge wickedness, and will not let it go unpunished.  The sad thing is that there are those who are “Ungodly”.

The “Ungodly” are those who will set out to oppose all that is godly, righteous, just, and of God.  Whether we want to admit this or not they do exist.  A few years ago we  heard of a group who on a website asks for those who will commit the “Unpardonable sin” to sin against the Spirit of God and forever condemn their soul.  The ungodly are those who just completely reject the love, grace, mercy, and cross of Jesus Christ.

These are as the waste of the wheat as it is thrashed.  When the winds of life and God’s judgment comes are driven away.  May God save those who will hear Him, and believe.

In the first Psalm we see the blessedness of the one who is right with God.  They do not seek ungodly counsel, nor do they participate in sinful endeavors, nor try to rule with the scornful or as the scornful.  The “Blessed” are those whose “…delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night”.  Those who do this are strong, supplied, and sufficient for all things.

“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” Psalm 1:5 (KJV).

The ungodly and the sinner are the same.  They are not right with God.  Their delight is to do the things that gratify their emotions, thinking, lust, greed, and power.  These are ones who will not hardly hesitate to use a friend, sometimes even a family member or spouse, or co-worker to gain what they desire; what they delight in.  They certainly have no desire for God.  God would be an interruption in their life.

The path of the ungodly and the sinner is that they will not be able to stand before God in the judgment with their good deeds.  They will be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:11-14;  v. 12), and will not be able to give any reason for their unbelieving hearts.  There will be no room for the ungodly and the sinner “…in the congregation of the righteous”.

Who are the righteous?  All those who have come to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, and received the righteousness of Christ and have been raised together with Him, for all eternity.

Sin definitely has a hold on the human race.  Why many do not want to see it is beyond reason.  One Monday morning at Virginia Tech, in April 2007, we saw the results of sin, and there is only one answer for sin.  The life of a perfect sacrifice.  And we are not it.

“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish”  Psalm 1:6 (KJV).

Cho Sueng-Hui a student with a visa from South Korea went into a dorm and killed two fellow students.  He, then proceeded to Norris Hall where students and teachers were gathered for classes, and shot and killed thirty more, and then, turned the gun on himself.  This man does not need my condemnation, nor anyone else.  He is condemned far greater than anything you or I could.  He is forever in the absence of God’s presence.

Those who have become so encumbered by sin that they follow its call will do almost anything.  Let no one say, “I could not/would not ever do what that man did”.  You just might.  As long as you turn a deaf ear to the Lord; your heart will grow hard, heavy, and madness of evil can easily set in.  You could find yourself doing all kinds of evil, that you never dreamed possible.  You say you don’t believe in evil.  Do not be deceived.  You saw it take place on Monday morning April 16, 2007, and every morning before and since that dreadful day.  Evil is more powerful than you or I can deal with alone.  The end of evil is destruction.

The LORD knows ‘the way of the righteous’;  He should because He directs the way of the righteous.  The LORD does not direct the righteous to kill, maim or destroy.  He directs the righteous to live godly, holy, and sanctified lives for His glory, and calls us to call others unto Him.  The way of the righteous is also the way of peace, mercy, justice, love, joy, gentleness, patience, self control.  They show forth those things which have been called the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’.

-Tim A. Blankenship