The Holy Law

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12 (KJB)

There are some who speak and act as though the law of God is bad, evil and of ill intent. That is a wrong accusation coming from a sinful heart and mind.

The law is from God; thus it is holy. God gave the law to reveal our sin. The apostle Paul in the letter to the Galatians said,

“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:22-25

No longer under the law as a “schoolmaster” because now, redeemed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus we have a new heart filled with the right ways, the holiness, the law of God, and power and authority to walk in it.

So, let us walk in it.

Power Belongs to God

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Romans 13:1-2  (KJB)

There are many people who honor the order of law, and endeavor to give honor to those who are giving their lives to defend, protect, and serve us.  People such as our local county Sheriff’s departments, city police, firemen, Emergency Medical Services, and the soldiers of our nation’s military should be admired, revered, given honor, and paid rightly.

When we honor these men and women we in one respect give honor to God.  God is the One who has ordained the “higher powers” – those who are in authority.

Sadly, as of lately, there seems to be a growing number of people who hate the law and order of our land.  Could it be because they are guilty of violating the law?  Therefore they cannot support our men and women who are defenders of the law.

We must be careful that we do not put our defenders on too high a pedestal though.  They too are of flesh and blood humanity.  They make mistakes. They are sinners too. Nonetheless, they are ministers of God (Romans 13:4), and if you are against them, you stand against God.  That is your damnation.

There is no man, however, who holds absolute power.  All power is God’s “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”, and He gives power to whom He will.

Jesus, as He stood before Pilate and when Pilate had said, “Don’t You know that I have the power to crucify You, or to release You?” said,

“Thou couldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:11

No one has power that has not been given him, except by God. If you think you are one with great power and authority, then be very careful, and give God thanks, and recognize from whence that power came.

If you are not respecting the “higher powers”, then you dishonor God Himself, and bring damnation on yourself.

As a Christian my hope and eternal life lies in Jesus Christ.  While I live in this world I am first of all subject to the Most High and Holy God who is All-Powerful. I also must subject myself to those who have authority over me, as they are servants of God to do what is right (Romans 13:4), and that also will give you a clean conscience (v. 5).

The Works He Does

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do.”
John 14:12-14  (KJB)

In this scene Jesus is preparing His disciples for life without His bodily presence.  He is soon to depart from this earth by way of death, burial, and bodily resurrection; then to ascend up bodily unto the Father in their very presence (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11).  Did you notice that in Acts where the angels said, “He will come again in like manner”?

I want to deal with that verse where it sounds as though you can ask for anything you want, and God is supposed to give it.  It is not.  The works Jesus did before His death. The miracles, and even more importantly the fearlessness in preaching the word, calling sinners to repentance and faith in God through the Son. His life was given for all who would believe in Him to be saved and live forever in the presence of the God of all creation.

Ask what you will according to His name, and God will give it.  That is ask what He would ask for.  Most of the time what Jesus asked for was to glorify the Father.  Is that a hint or what?

It is almost surely a sign of immaturity, or unbelief if one thinks that they can ask for cars, homes, lands, health, etc., and think that God is obligated to give them.  Remember this:  God is obligated to no one or no thing.

Ask for salvation.  Ask for God’s will in your life.  Ask for souls to be saved.  Ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Ask that the word of God go forth in power; and much more.  Cars, houses, lands, even health?  What is that compared to eternity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

I ask God today to save the soul that is nearest Hell.  Could that be you?

Power Over Evil

“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God.’  And Jesus rebuked him, saying,
‘Hold thy peace, and come out of him.’
And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.  And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, ‘What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.  And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.”  Luke 4:33-37  (KJB)

There are few if any people who do not realize and admit that there is evil in the world we live in.  Sometimes we wear “rose colored glasses”, and try to hide the evil so we cannot see.  No matter how thick those lenses are it does not negate the fact of evil’s presence.

There are people in bondage to evil.  That is why there are shootings at schools, churches, office buildings, on highways, from hotel rooms overlooking a mass of people, etc.. There is no legitimate blame for these evil matters except these folks are in bondage to evil. We can take away guns, take away the explosives; and you still have evil coming from those with evil intent.

When Jesus was walking among men as Man, the God-Man He knew the condition of our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). He even spoke of it (Matthew 12:34-37).  Evil thoughts and deeds comes from within our hearts; and until the heart of the man or woman is changed we spend countless amounts of dollars, and time trying to put a band-aid on something we have no power over.

In the above verses was a man in bondage to a demon. An unclean, evil, vile, and ruthless evil that caused this man to do evil things; it had taken possession of his mind and body.

Jesus said to the demoniac, “Hold your peace, and come out of him” and the demon was through; the man was free from the bondage of evil, and the uncleanness of evil

Are you being tormented by evil?  Jesus speaks to you, and tells you, “Come to Me”.  He casts out the evil, and you become new.  The One who has Power over evil died for you, so that you might be freed from sin, and the bondage of evil.  Call on Him. He will hear you and deliver you.

Kings, Neighbors,Enemies, and Honey

“These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.  The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: for better it is that it be said unto thee, ‘Come up hither;’ than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”  Proverbs 25:1-7  (KJB)

Kings, Neighbors, Enemies, and Honey – Proverbs 25:1-28

VERSES 1-7 –  On verses two and three the MacArthur Study Bible notes, “God…kings. The roles of God and the king are compared.  God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge (cf. Ps. 92:5; Eccl. 3:11; Is. 46:10; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:13), and whose ways are unsearchable (cf. Job 5:9; Ps. 145:3; Is. 40:28), keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel (see Rom. 11:34).  On the contrary, kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.”

Looking at verses four and five we can conclude that kingdoms of men are established by God when wickedness is removed and righteousness is in place.  There is silver present, but it must be refined by fire.

In verses six and seven we see that humility is an honorable trait even in places of authority.

VERSES 8-20 –  Getting along with neighbors will be aided by not being hasty in judging them when they seem to be unwise, and in the end you are shamed by your own actions (vv. 8-10).

Using words wisely when dealing with our neighbors (vv. 11-12).  Refreshing and encouraging  words from a messenger (v. 13).  Forbearance or patience is a necessity for good neighbors (vv. 14-15).  Too much of a good and sweet thing will end in hatred of that very thing (vv. 16-17).

Being a good neighbor involves confidence in the right place and people, respecting truth and, others comfort, shelter, and nourishment (vv. 18-20).

VERSES 21-28 –  We ought to treat our enemies as we would treat our neighbors.  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19; 22:39;  Mark 12:31;  Luke 10:27;  Rom 13:9;  Gal. 5:14;  James 2:8).

VERSES 16 and 27 –  Honey is a natural sweetener.  Too much of this sweetener will make one sick.  Verse 16 prepares us for verse 17 where spending too much time a neighbor’s can be a thing that turns to hatred if not done in moderation.

To search for one’s own glory is as bad as eating too much honey.  It will make others sick, and possibly you sick as well.

He Preached With Authority

“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:31-32 (KJB)

Speaking of Jesus of course; He spoke amazing things.  His doctrine [teaching] was with power and authority which is probably a redundancy, but for strength and clarity it is repeated.

I pray that I will grow so in love with the Lord Jesus and His word and walk [live] in the fullness of His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] that I too will have that authority.  I do not desire it for myself, but for His name’s sake; and that others might come to know Him as their own personal Lord and Savior.  I pray this for every pastor, every man and woman of God, and every youth who has given their lives to Him.

Let us grow in the Spirit and power of Christ our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Boasting in the LORD

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 (KJB)

There is a whole lot of boasting going on.  I boast of one thing, and then another. So do you. I know of no one who has not made a boast of one thing or another.  Let me post a question;  Do you ever boast in the LORD?  Do you boast of His greatness, His power and authority?  Do you boast of His so great salvation?  Whoops!  That was three questions.

God is great to boast in.  Boast of a work He has accomplished in your life; and be sure to credit Him, not yourself.  When we boast in the LORD we take credit from our own achievements  and give them to the One to whom they belong.  That is where humility really begins.

The humble will always glorify the LORD with words and with a life that shows forth the power and glory of Jesus.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Amen

It all begins in recognizing Jesus as your Lord and Savior; the Son of God and God the Son.

Instruction and Authority from Proverbs 13

Instruction, Transgressions, and Authority – Proverbs 13:1-25

Verses 1 – 6 –  Once again we are dealing with the issues of the “mouth”.  Eating here seems to be speaking of much more than physical food; but rather of self-control with food and with the tongue.
Also speaking of control of one’s work habits; and speaking the truth.

Verses 7 – 8 –  When one makes themselves “rich” they are usually poor in many other ways.  Jesus said of the poor; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Riches are counted, by God, to be much more than material gain or wealth.  When the wealthy pay “ransom” in fear for their lives; they are genuinely poor.

Verses 9 – 19 –  Verse 13 is the central part of these verses; and words to be heeded by all who will trust the Lord.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

The instruction of God’s Word gives wisdom, grace, knowledge, salvation, fellowship with God, Peace with God, and peace with Mankind.

Verses 20 – 21 –  How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with?  Good parents will keep watch.  “Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33  “Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”
All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with.  You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

Verses 22 – 25 –  There is work and labor involved in caring for our future.  It begins by self discipline, and teaching our children.

“Prov. 13:24 Physical discipline is a common theme in Proverbs (see e.g., 10:13; 17:10; 22:15; 23:13–24; 29:15). It is viewed as an important part of the correction and training of a child, to teach him to avoid wrong behavior, to embrace what is right, and to build godly character. Equally important, physical discipline is an expression of love for a child, while the one who spares the rod hates his son. Taking into account all of the teaching of Proverbs, physical discipline of a child must never be severe and must always be exercised in love. Cf. Heb. 12:5–11.”  ESV Study Bible note.

The rod spoken of in verse 24 is one that speaks of “authority”.  The shepherd had a staff with a crook on the upper end; the king held a sceptre.  Both of these were signs of authority.
Our children need to learn to recognize authority.  When we have some who yell about corporal punishment as teaching children violence they are teaching children to disrespect authority.  Those who are in authority have the power to discipline.  God is the ultimate Authority.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Kings Authority Over Evil

The King’s Authority Over Evil

Matthew 8:28-34

We have seen Jesus the King as He has dealt with physical ailments, sicknesses, diseases, and our infirmities. We have seen Him deal with the storm which came up at sea which could, itself, have been generated by supernatural means, through the demons we see in our text. It is only my supposition to think it was of supernatural means, and I think a good supposition due to the fear of the four fishermen who were on the boat of the previous verses. If it was not supernatural, then, it was one of the fiercest storms they had ever encountered.

JESUS IS MET BY TWO WHO ARE POSSESSED BY DEMONS (v. 28).

* Two people all the other people feared and would take long walks around where they dwelt.

* Two people who were in bondage; who actually were crying for help from within their souls.

THE FALLEN ANGELS KNOW WHO JESUS IS AND PLEAD WITH HIM FOR A REPRIEVE (vv. 29-31).

* These demons recognize their Creator who cast them out of heaven.

* They still despise Him, though they may show some humility to Him, recognizing His superiority over them.

MATTHEW’S GOSPEL RECORDS JESUS ONLY SPEAKING ONE WORD, AND THAT WORD IS “GO.” (v. 32).

* Jesus’s word “Go” to these fallen angels was to depart from the tormented souls of these individuals.

* The Christian is commissioned to “Go”, and tell, and deliver the lost from the torment of evil.

THE OWNER’S OF THE PORK STRONGLY URGE JESUS TO LEAVE (vv. 33-34).

* This whole event is about the deliverance of people who have been in bondage to evil.

* What is of more importance pigs and/or possessions or the lives of human beings?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day Three Hundred and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the poor, the orphan, the elderly, the sick, and all people to be treated justly, and fairly by all who name the name of Christ and by all who are in positions of authority in government.

He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.” Proverbs 14:31 (NKJV)

“The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Luke 4:18-19

The Tormented

There are many tormented people in the world today. Some seem to be intelligent individuals, educated, wealthy, or maybe middle class, or poor who are tormented by their lives, and living.

These folks do things that are beyond themselves, that cause harm to family, friends, neighbors; even to themselves that a otherwise sane individual would not do. We send them to doctors who specialize in this sort of thing, yet these people are still tormented.

Jesus dealt with these people, and spoke to them, and in our case today delivers this man from his torment:

“And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.” Mark 1:23-27 (KJV)

This man was demon possessed. Controlled by another being. He needed peace, and only Jesus could give it. Tormented souls need Jesus the Christ to set them free, and give them peace. Peace with God (Romans 5:1).

Are you a tormented soul? Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Call on His name, and He will save you.

Nailed Down

“In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 22:25 (KJV)

From chapter 13 of Isaiah through chapter 23 there are a series of warnings, and judgments against nations because of their unbelief, their rebellion, their sins against the LORD. The one we see in chapter 22 is against Jerusalem, which means against the nation of Israel.

They have been living in comfort; growing in rebellion against the LORD; and cold toward righteous life, and failing to glorify God.

For instance “Shebna” (vv. 15) was a chief administrator in the house of the king. He was gaining for himself great wealth, chariots, horses, and such and even planning himself a great sepulchre (tomb) for his death; proclaiming his own greatness and power.

The people of God are to glorify the LORD, not themselves. The people of God should use their means, and wealth for the glory of the LORD in benefiting others not amassing for themselves massive homes, fancy cars, and long, costly vacations. That is what was going on in Jerusalem at the time of Isaiah’s prophecy. Does it sound familiar for any other place? Does it sound familiar for the land of the free, and home of the brave?

Let me encourage you to read this chapter (22), and note what is going on. Jerusalem was the city of David, dedicated to the purpose of the glory of the LORD; yet it had departed.

Shebna (v. 15) would be replaced by Eliakim, yet he too would be removed: (“And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.” v. 23); because the LORD has spoken it.

Israel was judged. Shebna lost his seat of authority. Eliakim gained that seat. He lost it just as the LORD had spoken through the prophet Isaiah. What God says comes to pass.  It was NAILED DOWN.

Christians and the Authorities

“If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.” Ecclesiastes 10:4 (KJV)

It has become quite apparent to me that many in the world; and especially in the U. S. of A. have problems dealing with people who have authority over us. I will not mention any particular cases; but if you see any news broadcast you know what I am writing about.

Children having problems with their parents, because they refuse to submit to their authority. Maybe it is the parent who should submit to the child. NOT!

We live in a world where there are laws; and there are authorities of those laws. If we are a Christian our first submission is to God, His Son, His Spirit and His Word. If we are submissive to Him we will have no problem “Yielding” to the authorities He has placed over us (Romans 13:1-7).

Whether it is to a king, president, prime minister, or a despot; if that is who is our ruler, then we are to yield to his rule; as far as he has submitted and yielded to God’s rule, and law. A police officer is a ruler in your town or city. If you get pulled over, and he/she tells you to spit; then spit. If he/she ask you to get out of the car, then carefully get out of the car. You yielding to her/him will pacify any anger that may have been generated earlier (Proverbs 25:15).

Our ultimate Authority is the Creator of the Universe. Yield to Him. Yield to the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. When we yield to Him we will yield to the authorities He has placed over us.

Rejoice, Because Your Names are Written

Luke 10:17-20

1.  The seventy disciples had returned from their missionary journey;

2.  They were rejoicing over the miracles which had transpired through their ministry;

3.  Jesus reminds them that the power and authority was from Him;

4.  Jesus also reminds them that there is a greater thing than miracles and power.

I.  SATAN NO LONGER HAS POWER AND/OR AUTHORITY OVER THE BELIEVER’S LIFE – JESUS WITNESSED THE FALL OF THE DEVIL (v. 18; Isaiah 14:12-14;  Ezekiel 28:12-15).

II.  THE BELIEVER HAS POWER TO TREAD ON THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL AND HIS DEMONS (v. 19a; Isaiah 59:60).

III.  NOTHING CAN HARM THE FAITHFUL BELIEVER, FOLLOWING JESUS CHRIST (v. 19b;  Isaiah 54:17).

IV.  DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY THE SENSATIONAL,MIRACULOUS WORKS OF GOD; RATHER REJOICE THAT YOUR NAME IS WRITTEN IN HEAVEN – BY GOD (v. 20; Ephesians 6:10-12).

i.  The power of Satan was diminished by the power of the cross of Jesus Christ; by the resurrection the head of the serpent was crushed.

ii.  As heirs of God, and joint heirs of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17), the enemy is under the feet of Christ.

iii.  We must trust the strength and power of our Lord to protect, and keep us during the trials of life.

iv.  We cannot let emotional sensationalism, signs and miracles detract us from what is truly important, and that is that “Your names are written in heaven”.

v.  Be sure, by placing your faith and trust in the finished work of Christ today.

The Good News of the Kingdom of God

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’  Now as He walked by the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.’  And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed Him.  And when He had gone a little further thence, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.  And straightway He called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him.  And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day He entered into the synagogue, and taught.  And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”  Mark 1:14-22

Like The Animals???

It is so very sad to look around at society and see things going to the dogs. A few years ago an NFL star was sentenced to prison time for killing dogs. Even though, he was unjustly and illegally fighting them is a sign of worse things to come.

We are human beings created in the image of God. We have been given, by God, the rule and dominion of this earth. The man I speak of may have deserved a fine, maybe some loss of time from playing on the team he was on, and maybe even a fine from the NFL for the bad name against them.

It is so unhuman to give greater power and authority; and better treatment to the animal kingdom than to the human being. It is when we begin acting like animals that we begin treating humanity more like animals.

Hear the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

“How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? See thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways; a wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? All they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.  Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, ‘There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.'” Jeremiah 2:23-25 (KJV)

Many reading this will probably think, “Well how is this relative or practical for our society today?” I personally think that is an easy answer. When we have parents wanting to do things to protect their daughters from sexually immoral living by having them take a shot to protect them from a form of cancer that can be gotten only by pre-marital sex at too young of an age, then we are telling our children, “Your urges are uncontrollable, just follow your ‘heart'”. In other words your sexual drive is stronger than your mind and will. Just go with how you feel and this vaccine will protect you. People we are more than animals. We have a will. We can make moral choices. Animals do not.

This was the problem with the people in Jeremiah’s day. They were giving themselves to Baal worship and this involved all sorts of immoral conduct. Then, they would say on the Sabbath day as they pretended to worship the Lord GOD, “We have not gone after the Baals”.

I do not mean to sound brash in what I am about to write here, but there are many of our young ladies and young men who go around acting like animals in heat. No control; just doing what may seem like the natural thing to do.  This is not pleasing to our Lord. Even sadder to say is that many of these doing this profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  When you walk in the Spirit of God, you do the will of God.

What is the answer for our society today? We need to quit giving our young people the okay for sexual immorality. When birth control pills are given them, and a vaccine is provided to them to protect them from pregnancy and disease; we are in fact giving our okay to them. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s teach them the law of God’s Word. Let’s teach them by our own personal examples. The youth of America appreciate honesty, straight forward truth, and they will respect you for it. They will not respect “Hemming and Hawing around” about matters to get to the point.  As the people of God we who are adult Christians need to practice what we preach and teach. We should always be seeking the Lord to lead in our lives, and to give us the mind of Christ.

There is a lot of loose living in society. We as Christians should live a tight knit life in Christ, love our spouses, and be always faithful, and worship God and God alone through His Son Jesus Christ.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 012713 Evening

The Kingdom Coming

Matthew 20 – 26

1.  The King’s Vineyard (20)

A.  The laborers (vv. 1-19)
B.  The Great ones (vv. 20-28)

2.  The King’s Presentation (21:1-10)

A.  Cleansing the temple (vv. 11-17)
B.  Authority (vv. 18-27)

3.  The Identity of the King (22:41-46)

4.  The Ruling of the King (23)

5.  The Kingdom Coming (24-25)

6.  The Price of the Kingdom (26)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 70 – Servant To Many

As we begin reading the gospel of Mark we see no genealogy.  We do see Mark’s short declaration “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” (1:1).  My reading today was Mark 1 – 14.  And as we look at the gospel it can be quite apparent that this gospel presents Jesus as  the Son of God, yet a servant to all who will believe Him.

In the era of the life of Jesus servants had no genealogy.  I believe that is much for us to contemplate.  We see Jesus, even when He needs to get away for prayer and rest; people coming to Him and He still meets their needs.  That is at the heart of being a servant.

“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto Him, saying, ‘Master, we would that Thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.’  And He said unto them, ‘What would ye that I should do for you?’  They said unto Him, ‘Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand, in Thy glory.’  But Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’  And they said unto Him, ‘We can.’ And Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: but to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.’  And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.  But Jesus called them to Him, and saith unto them, ‘Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”  Mark 10:35-45 (KJV)

In the above account of James and John coming to Jesus seeking positions of authority with Him in His glory; we find Jesus also telling them that being one of authority means to be a servant to the people.  Jesus was one who was that type of servant; even to the point of sacrificing His own life for the world.

In the 14th chapter we find Jesus in one of His final acts of service.  Giving Himself to the religious leaders to be tried.

“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with Him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.” 14:53

How can men try God?  And be successful at it anyway?  It seems to me that men still put God on trial everyday.  In many hearts and minds He is still found guilty.  Yet, He serves us with His enduring mercy.

Much could be learned by the religious and political leaders of our day by following the pattern of Jesus.  Rather many if not most of them demand others their service and attention.

Jesus served us all the way to judgment by a mock trial, with lying witnesses, and trumped up charges.  Yet He gave His life for those same people.  He gave His life for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 62 – The Wisdom and Knowledge of Daniel

That is right.  My reading today covered all of the prophecy of Daniel, and the first two chapters of Hosea.  We will look at Hosea in the next post.  God willing of course.

Daniel was one of many Jewish nobles who were taken by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon as captives.  Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were chosen by the hand and appointment of God.  They were four young men who were willing to risk their lives for the sake of the commandments of the LORD God.

“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”  Daniel 1:17 (KJV)

These were not young people who would be given to pride with the power and authority which was given them by God.  Many might say, “It was Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon who gave them their power and authority”.   Not so.  All power and authority comes from the God of heaven and earth.

One of the first test which came to Daniel was the king wanting the “wise  men” of Babylon to tell him a dream he had dreamed and its interpretation.  Of course the Chaldeans of Babylon had no clue as to the dream he dreamed.  Daniel, however, called on Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah to pray and seek God for the answer, and God gave it to them  (2:17-23).  Daniel went to Nebuchadnezzar and told him the dream and its interpretation.  It was a dream showing how the end of the earthly rule of the Gentiles would come about.

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” 2:44-45

All the prophecies of Daniel were fulfilled just as Daniel foretold them; or are yet to be fulfilled.  The earthly kingdoms of men yet stand, but they will one day fall to the rule of the One who died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying our guilt and sin away, than three days later He bodily arose and came out of the grave justifying forever, those who will believe in Him.

God tells Daniel to “seal the book, even to the time of the end” (12:4), and it seems to me that we are near the end, and the wisdom and understanding of the prophecy is becoming clear to those who will hear and believe.

Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God will soon return, and set up His earthly kingdom.  Know the wisdom and knowledge of Daniel.  Know the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Mark – 031311

The reading today is from the Gospel of Mark chapters 1 – 4.

The gospel of Matthew is related to the King and His kingdom.  The gospel of Mark is related to Jesus as a servant.  These characteristics are seen in the Old Testament in the book of the prophet Ezekiel (1:10), and also in the Revelation of Jesus Christ (4:7).  There are four faces mentioned; the face of a lion – the King;  the face of an calf/ox – servant or serving;  the face of a man – humanity;  the face of an eagle.  The Revelation even calls it a “flying eagle”.  I will deal with the significance of the others when we get to their respective gospels.  Right now we will deal with Mark.

Let me make something as plain and clear as I can.  There are not four different gospels.  There are four different points of view so that we may have a more clear, and lovely picture of our Lord.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John though penned from different experiences are just as inspired by God as the other.  They do not contradict but explain, and enhance, and complement one another.

The experience of Mark begins differently than the other three accounts.  Matthew begins with a genealogy of our Lord and His Kingship.  Luke, in chapter 3 has the genealogy from Mary’s side of the family, thus showing his humanity.  John has no genealogy, but rather states quite clearly His deity with the first five verses, with verse 1 saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.

Mark includes no genealogy, because servants  had no genealogy in that day; not publicly recorded.  Looking at the total life of Jesus we see a King, a servant, a man, and His Divinity.

Look with me at the beginning of the gospel;

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make His paths straight.'” Mark 1:1-3

Mark seems to make the service of Jesus to the Father a point in a greater way than the others do.  Many may frown on the idea of Jesus as a servant, but He said it Himself:

“Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:41-45

The work of Jesus while on earth was to fulfill the Father’s will, not His own.  He was a servant/minister to do the bidding of His Father.  He had come also to serve mankind by giving His life as a ransom for our sin, paying the sin debt which we owed.

Surely the best we have to offer Him is ourselves, believing what He has said, living for Him and His glory.  We need to do as the apostle Paul says, “…Present your bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1-2).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Valley Of Vision

Since the thirteenth chapter Isaiah has been proclaiming messages called “burdens” in the KJV; they are particularly messages of warning and judgment coming on those nations mentioned.  Babylon, Egypt, Moab, Damascus to name a few.

The “burden” in this chapter is directed to Jerusalem or Israel as a whole.  While the other “burdens” were named against nations and peoples who were unfriendly and cruel to Israel this one is directed straight at the city and people of Jerusalem.

Why called “Valley of vision”?  It could be possibly because they have been a lofty city.  Geographically, Jerusalem is an upwards climb from most locations of Israel.  Most of the time when it is mentioned, it is always “Up to Jerusalem” from someone headed there.  When you are going to a valley the motion is always downward.  That is the state Jerusalem and Israel are in as we read this chapter.

Read verses 1 – 7,

“The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?  Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.  All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far.   Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.  For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains.  And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.  And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.” Isaiah 22:1-7 (KJV)

It seems in reading these verses that they have been surrounded by enemy forces,  and with peril around them they are partying without any regard or though toward God their Creator and Sustainer.  When they should have been weeping, mourning and praying with repentance they were playing.  Sounds like another nation I know about, and live within.  God forgive us.

This sound of the valley of vision is similar to Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 37, the words of Jeremiah 21:13 and Joel 3:12, 14.  Maybe this speaks of the depths to which the people have sank.  Something to consider any how.

There are two men who are named within Jerusalem; Shebna who is possibly a scribe and holding a seat of honor; then, there is Eliakim who is referred to as “My Servant” (v. 20).  Shebna loses his place of honor due to his disobedience to God and failure to do his duty; and the place is given to Eliakim because of his faithfulness.

We are told of Eliakim,

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.  And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”  vv. 20-22

Keys are symbols of authority.  If you possess a key, whether it is to your property or another’s it shows you have the right to enter or to the use of that property.  Any one forcing entry or use is an illegal user; with the exception of permission by the authority of one with the key.  Jesus used these words describing Himself,

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.”  Revelation 3:7-8

Eliakim was to make decisions, and they would be sure and fast decisions, until the time of his fall.

Jesus’s kingdom and reign will never fall and never fail.  His kingdom is sure and stedfast.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – Twenty Seven through Thirty three

“And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, 28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? 29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me. 31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. 33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Mark 11:27-33 (KJV)

WHERE DOES JESUS GET THE AUTHORITY TO DO SUCH THINGS AS PURIFY THE TEMPLE?

If you are anything like me you are thinking to yourself that these religious leaders must be “fuming mad” at Jesus.  Here for the second time in three years He has come into the Temple compound, and tossed tables, money, caused animals to scatter, and “offended” many of the people and upset the business of the Temple people.  The thing we must realize is that God was offended by their “Business” in His house.  They were more concerned with the pocketbook than with the hearts of the people.  They were more upset over the money than they were with the shattered lives of the people around them.

Who gave Jesus the authority to do what He did?  Who did He think He was anyway?  We know the answer to that question – He was/is the Son of God, in the flesh.  He is the Creator of the world.  His authority came from Heaven.  His authority came from His position as Creator, Son, Savior, Messiah, Lord, Redeemer, Master, Healer, Sustainer, the Almighty, and many other titles and names that is given Him.  Now, where does the authority come from?  Who gave Him this power?  Did He need to ask  permission?  NO!  It is all His.

These leaders would not answer Jesus’ question concerning John the Baptist.  They knew what He would say if they would acknowledge John as a prophet of God.  They were also afraid to answer he was just from men lest they received ridicule and rejection from the people.  They would not stand on anything, so they would fall for a lie instead.  They would have suffered rejection from the people because they saw John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  How foolish, and how weak.  It only proves they wanted only popular approval.

Why did Jesus not answer their question?  If they were rejecting John’s message, they would not believe Jesus’ message of Himself.  Why waste the time and effort to bother with an answer.  There are times when an answer is not warranted or deserving of those who ask it.  This was one of those cases.
Jesus was always willing to answer honest questions.  He answered  many of them.  This was not an honest question.  It is like you or me proving our identity, and then, having someone ask us, “Are you sure you are who you say you are?”  Only with Jesus it is much more severe.

Jesus is the Son of God, became flesh, who died for our sins, carried our sins away at His burial, and after three days He rose from the dead for our justification, and He is one day soon returning for those who are His in the rapture of the Church, and then returning to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years and then for all eternity.  Do you know the God/man Jesus?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Preach The Word

“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.  And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,  And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:  And Simon he surnamed Peter;  And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:  And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,  And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.”  Mark 3:13-19 (KJV)

Jesus called these twelve men “Apostles” and gave them authority to heal the sick, cast out demons, and to preach the Word of the kingdom.  The twelve men are mentioned by name even to the one who would ultimately betray Jesus, and point Him out to be crucified.  Simon [called Peter] would also deny Him and would be very grievous concerning the denial.

The authority Jesus gave to the apostles is given to the church today.  The signs and wonders given to the apostles were necessary to give evidence and proof that these men were speaking the truth of God.  We do not need the proof.  The written Word of God is all the evidence and proof that we need.  We only need to read it, study it, apply it, and hide it in our hearts to show the world that Jesus Christ does make a difference.  Because He lives.

Called out, set apart for the purpose of glorifying Jesus Christ, and bringing all who will hear to the place of joyfully bowing before Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Have Mercy On My Son

Jesus and three of His disciples have descended the mount of transfiguration.  The other disciples had remained down at the foot of the mountain with multitudes coming to them, and awaiting the return of Jesus, Peter, James and John.

A man with a son who was prone to epilepic seizures believes Jesus can heal him, however when he arrives Jesus is not present, only the nine disciples; and they have been unable to heal his son.

“And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,  Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.  And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.  Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.  And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.”  Matthew 17:14-18 (KJV)

Epilepsy is a ailment affecting the brain, and causes dramatic seizures at times, and sometimes frozen stares; each case with  individuals varries.

In the case of this father’s son his epilepsy was brought on by a demon.  We can see by this that the devil and his minions have no love for the human race.  The devil is seeking with every opportunity to destroy, divide, kill, maim, and cause humanity to hate God even more.

Some  have wondered, “To whom was Jesus speaking when He asked the question, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?”  The answer to that question is the disciples who were unable to cast out the demon.

Jesus had given them the power and authority to cast out demons, and to heal (Matthew 10:5-10).  It seems at this point their faith was wavering.  We will deal with this issue later in our study in Matthew.

The father’s faith led him to bring his tormented son to Jesus.  Jesus was not present at his coming to the base of the mount, but His nine disciples were.  Therefore the father seeks their help, and their efforts were fruitless, and the young man continues in the torment of the demon.

The power of Jesus Christ is without question.  He simply requested that the child be brought to Him; He rebukes the demon, and the demon flees.  The child is cured.  No more demon.  No more epileptic seizures.  No more epilepsy.  The child was healed that very hour.

There is one thing for sure when it comes to being in a place of spiritual leadership; and the disciples were in that place.  There are times when we are confronted with difficult situations, and circumstances.  People will bring them to us.  We have been given authority and power through Christ Jesus and our faith is week.  We can try every thing; prayer is good; but are we praying with faith that we are being heard?

There is no doubt, that for these disciples this was a difficult situation, with a tormented child, afflicted and tormented by a demon; only divine intervention could provide the care, and heal the child.  They had the power, but were not able or faithful to use it.

What about you and me?  We have been given great power and authority by Jesus Christ our Lord; but do we walk in faith and appropriate it as we ought?  I think not.  Let us seek, through Christ, to put to work the power He has given us, and walk daily with Him.

There are mothers and fathers all around us who are hurting with hurting and suffering children.  They need our touch, love and care.  That is the only touch of Jesus Christ they can see and feel until they know Him for themselves.

Through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ hearts and lives can be changed.  Do we trust more in the efforts and “powers” of politics to change men’s hearts and lives?  Do we trust more in the human endeavors of effort and work for the good of humanity, without any thought of God?  Only to our destruction and death.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Corrupted Brute Beasts

“But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.” Jude 10 (NKJV).

Those who would, do, and will pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ have a self made knowledge. They have a knowledge of Scripture, and philosophy, based on their education, but not according to the wisdom and knowledge of God. That is, the wisdom and knowledge which comes only from God.

They claim an authority over the spiritual world which is not of man, thus they do damage to the true message of the cross and of Christ. You will find this in those who claim to speak for God with a new revelation from God, thus they add to the Word of God. Of this God warns us in the final verses of the Revelation of Jesus Christ 22:18-19. Some of the same ones that “do not know”, are taking away from the Word of God the very thing which God honors and magnifies. The deity of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Immutability of God and His Word; the teaching of the Triune God. They claim it cannot be understood, so they deny it.

To deny any one of those things takes the “teacher” out of the realm of true Christianity, and puts them in the realm of the “Cultic kingdom”. These same one’s who deny these things often claim a power of knowledge of Scripture which they do not have. They do not have the Spirit of God in them or on them.

There are many people today who make the claim that, “It doesn’t matter what you believe; as long as you believe something”; and nothing could be further from the truth. The way you truly believe will affect the way you live. If you follow false doctrines and beliefs you will live a false life, which is hypocrisy, leading to sinfulness, immorality, etc..

As, “brute beasts”, they live however they choose. They take advantage of those who do not have. They speak of living in grandeur, mansions, fancy cars, fine clothes, living in the lap of luxury. They do it by grabbing , taking advantage of the little that others have and taking it for themselves.

Christian brother and sister heed the message of the Word of the Lord. Do not be deceived by the liar and deceiver who wants you to know what is unknowable, or to do the undoable. Those who claim faith that is Christless, crossless, and senseless are out to take from your pocket to theirs.

Follow Jesus Christ, and not men or women.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Contending With The Devil

“Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Jude 9 (NKJV).

The writer – Jude – has been dealing with the actions of apostates who are against the work of Jesus Christ, His cross, burial and bodily resurrection. Those who speak against any dignitaries, and now he even includes demons.

There are those in Christian circles who are teaching of speaking directly to the devil. God’s Word never tells us to deal directly with the devil or his legions of demons. In the name of Jesus we rebuke them. Michael the archangel, never spoke directly to the devil, but said only, “The Lord rebuke you”. We have no greater power than that.

There was a battle that raged between Michael and the devil over the body of Moses. Moses was buried by God, in a place unknown to any man. God was most likely protecting the body of Moses from becoming an object of worship, which would have been the reason for the devil’s procuring of the body, if he would have been permitted to have it. The devil has a way of using things that are material to gain a following for himself.

There is no doubt that the devil and his demons attack the people of God. The devil loves the endeavor of trying to rob us of our joy, peace, and love in Christ Jesus. He will afflict us, condemn us, attack us with various problems; and yet the child of God through faith in Jesus Christ will be held up by the power of the cross of Christ. Remember, we are to speak to the Father through the Son. We are to only rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus our Lord.

No Christian has any right using offensive words against the devil or his demons. The Lord in His intervening power will defeat them. As a matter of fact they are already defeated. We are not fighting for the victory, because the victory was won on the cross, and proven by the resurrection. We are, in fact fighting from victory, till that day we see our Savior face to face. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Trust in Him and never be afraid or ashamed.

We have authority to name the devil only the names which God has called him. To curse and revile him is not of God for us. That is our Lord’s work. The devil has a place to which he will be going for all eternity, and it won’t be heaven before the throne of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Guard Against Filthy Dreamers

“Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.” Jude 8 (NKJV).

We must look backwards in the text to see the meaning of the “Likewise”. The apostates who lived in unbelief, rebellion, and immoral conduct were also “filthy” (KJV) dreamers. They had no regard for the Word of God. They reject all authority, and spoke evil of those who had leadership.

In rejecting leadership this most likely means that of God’s Word, His leaders, and spoke evil of angels as well – the angels of God especially; probably assigning themselves power over angels. Giving dreams, and visions as much authority as the Word of God. Any messenger of God would have been evil spoken of.

The ones of whom Jude writes were probably saying they had a message from God, when all along their message was opposed to God.

Hear what Peter said of this very act:

“…Especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…“ 2 Peter 2:10 (NKJV).

These that speak evil of dignitaries are those who have no love for Jesus, nor much care for truth. They are given to whatever makes them feel fulfilled. “If it feels good that must be the right thing”. Could this also be dealing with those who have authority over us in government positions? “They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries…

With spirituality on the rise we as Christians must continue to guard our hearts and minds against the teachings of many who profess to know Christ, but do not, and teach in a manner which cries for the temporal fulfillment of the here and now; with not desire for the eternal, and living for Christ Jesus now.

Beware of those who pretend to know Christ, but deny the cross of Christ, deny His deity, deny His resurrection, and His coming again. These also will deny the full, completed revelation of the written Word of God. The truth of Jesus Christ is that He died on the cross for our sins, and the victory was won on the cross, He was buried carrying our sins away, and He arose from that grave bodily to show forth the victory over sin, death, hell and the grave.

Trust in the power and the authority of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christian Soldier – Prepared For Battle

Ephesians 6:10-20

PURPOSE: Seeing how we are constantly bombarded with evil in society, which comes from the “evil one’; we Christians must be as soldiers, prepared for the battle of good against evil, the flesh against the Spirit, pride against humility, love against hate, and be equipped by the strength of the Lord, the power of His might and learning to put on, and keeping on the armor of God.

THE FINAL EVIDENCE OF THE FILLING OF THE SPIRIT IN THE CHRISTIAN’S LIFE (vv. 5:18, 6:10).  “Finally” concludes the evidences of the filling of the Spirit which the apostle gives from verse eighteen of chapter five and runs through verse eighteen of chapter six.  I am saying that to put on the armor which we are commanded to put on, and the keeping on of that armor are evidences of the “Filling”

Let’s recap what has already been said of the “Filling of the Spirit”.  When you are filled with the Spirit of God:

1. You are controlled by the Spirit of God (v. 5:18);
2. Your life is a musical; your life is filled with song and thanksgiving (vv. 5:19-20);
3. You are submissive to others, or to one another (v. 5:21);
4. The Spirit filled wife is submissive to her husband (vv. 5:22-24);
5. The Spirit filled husband loves his wife sacrificially as “Christ died for the church” (vv. 5:25-31)
6. Spirit filled children will honor their parents (vv. 6:1-3);
7. Spirit filled parents will lovingly teach, discipline, and direct their children in the Lord (v. 4);
8. The Spirit filled laborer/worker/employee will be a diligent, faithful, hard working, unselfish, having high integrity, in the work for Christ sake (vv. 5-8);
9. The Spirit filled boss/manager/supervisor/owner will be well behaved toward his laborers/workers/employees: paying a better than average wage required by government; and see to it that all workers are treated fairly and equally.

The final three chapters of Ephesians are the practical aspects of what the apostle is teaching in the first three chapters.  These are surely practical, and show us how we ought to live personally, toward others, and this final one in the spiritual world as well; which many times, if not all the time; is manifest in the flesh and  blood of humanity.

We live in a desperately wicked world, and as Christians if we are not diligent and  vigilant we can find ourselves living a life of defeat.  Paul encourages us with these great words, Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.  This reminds me of the prophet Zechariah’s inspired words, “Not by might nor by power; but by My Spirit, says the LORD” (Zechariah 4:6).  The only way for us to “be strong” effectively is in the Lord, and that happens as we obey Him and His Word.  The Spirit of God can only work in us for godly living as we obey the Word of God.  The disobedient child of God is not in the will of God, and out of fellowship, out of tune with the leading of the Spirit of God.  No disobedient Christian can faithfully follow the will of God, nor can the disobedient Christian be strong in the Lord, and the power of His might.

The only answer for that is seeking God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9), receiving that forgiveness; then, living faithfully to God, His Word and the direction of His Spirit.  Be strong… in the power of His might.

The Spirit filled Christian will be a good soldier of Christ.

THE COMMAND, THE EQUIPMENT AND THE BATTLE (vv. 11-13).  Imagine if you will you can see the apostle, possibly chained to a Roman soldier, as he is imprisoned in a cold, wet, dark, cell.  He has occassionally caught the look of the armor the soldiers wear, and God has given him this illustration of the Christian’s armor.  You can tell where Paul’s heart is.  It is on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the people who have and who are coming to Christ as their Lord and Savior.  The apostle wants, even desires that his brethren be made strong, protected, powerful, and sturdy in the fight of the faith, and for the faith.

In these verses Paul gives us the command to put on the whole armor of God.  He also gives us the equipment of the armor; which consist of, the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, battle shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and for a weapon, the Sword of the Spirit.  Could there be one more weapon?  I believe there is and it is the weapon of prayer.  It is more powerful than an ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missle), or any other missile for that matter, because it is faster, and hits with much more impact, and only damages evil.

We are told that the battle is not against flesh and blood, but against forces which we cannot see.  Evil is a force (within politics, religion, etc.) of our enemy [the devil] which works deceptively; destroying individuals, marriages, families, towns and cities, State and Federal governments, and the whole world; which the devil uses to try and overthrow the reign of God.  We can see God’s view on this in the Second Psalm:

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalms 2:1-3 (KJV)

The battle rages everyday of our lives.  We cannot back down, nor lose hope.  Though the enemy has already been defeated on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ; he is still a foe that we must deal with in the Spirit of God.  His doom is sure.  His teeth have been shattered, and all he can really do is roar, and make a big stink.  However, the Christian must daily be filled with the Spirit, putting on the whole armor of God to stand, and stand firm against the onslaughts of Satan, that others may come to faith, grow more into the image of Christ our Lord, and be eternally with Him in glory.

The evil day is any time Satan’s attacks are worsening.  It seems to me that they are worsening everyday now.  It is actually speaking of when things in the world are at their worst.  With the economy crumbling and especially with many people’s investments in Wall Street, there is much fear, worry and dread.  May the Spirit filled Christian and her resting in Christ be the cause of peace in many more.  Whent he attacks seem unbearable, even in this can the Christian – Spirit filled – and fully armored, stand.  Praise God!

STANDING, FIGHTING WITH THE ARMOR IN THE STRENGTH AND MIGHT OF OUR LORD (vv. 14-17).  Some years ago there was a song I heard several times with the words, “We are walking into the enemies camp, and laying our weapons down; shedding our armor as we go, and leaving it on the ground.”  I believe this was the chorus of the song.  It did, however, catch my attention.  I think you can see what the writer of that song was saying.

This is not the time for Christians to be laying our armor, nor our weapons down at the feet of the enemy.  This is the time for us to gird up our loins with the belt of truth, taking all those things which hinder us and tucking them away so we can fight.  Why is it that some “Christian” hymnals have taken songs such as “Onward Christian Soldiers” out of the hymnal?  Some have changed to wording of songs so as not to offend the world.  Has any one figured out yet that the gospel message of Jesus Christ, the cross, burial and resurrection offends this world!?  (I guess it would be alright to view the previous sentence as an exclamation or a question).  To put on the belt of truth requires that the Christian spend time daily in the Word of God, hearing God through those things written by the prophets, lawgivers, singers, and historical writers.

The belt of truth is used as the means to hold other pieces of equipment in place.  With it you had a  place to carry the Sword.  The “belt of truth” for the Christian is the “truthfulness” continued, abiding living a committed, dedicated life to the battle for Christ, without hypocrisy, and devoted to victory.

The breastplate of righteousness described by the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE,

“The breastplate was usually a tough, sleeveless piece of leather or heavy material with animal horn or hoof pieces sewn on, covering th soldier’s full torso, protecting his heart and other vital organs.  Because righteousness, or holiness, is such a distinctive characteristic of God Himself, it is not hard to understand why that is the Christian’s chief protection against Satan and  his schemes.  As believers faithfully live in obedience to and communion with Jesus Christ, His own righteousness produces in them the practical, daily righteousness that becomes the spiritual breastplate.  Lack of holiness, on the other hand, leaves them vulnerable to the great enemy of their souls (cf. Is. 59:17;  2 Cor. 7:1;  1 Thess. 5:8).

THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, p. 1815.

Righteousness has been put to our account, because of Jesus’s death on the cross, and in our place.  This breastplate protects the Christian from the frontal assaults of Satan as he bombards with accusation which has been forgiven, insults, defamation and lies.  When we are clothed in the righteousness and armored in the breastplate of righteousness we can rest assured in Christ Jesus and enter the battle with confidence that, “No weapon that is formed against us shall prosper” (Isaiah54:17a).

A good soldier will have on the proper shoe or boot for the journey, and the battles that will be faced.  The shoe will provide good traction, stable footing, a steady foundation.  The feet are our foundation for travelling.  The means of going, and carrying out the mission to which every soldier has been called.  The feet of the Christian soldier is to be ready to share the gospel wherever we may go.  The Christian soldier is assured of eternal salvation, and knows how to share his personal testimony, and give a clear presentation of the message of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15).  His feet are “shod” and, ready to go at a moments notice.

Though most modern troops/soldiers do not carry shields, each soldier knows the value of a shield.  If we have been watching some news clips on television news we have seen some of our soldiers walking beside the hum-vees using them as a shield from the enemy bullets.  We see them hunkered down behind walls as shields as well.  In many cases it would be foolish not to seek a shield for protection.  For the Christian we cannot exist without the shield of faith.

When the enemy come swinging his sword of evil, and shooting his “fiery darts” of hatred; the shield of faith is raised to turn them away.  Sometimes the blows of evil and darts of hate can be felt, but they fall harmlessly to the ground yielding to the raised “shield of faith”;

“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”  Isaiah 59:19 (KJV)

The enemy will stop at nothing in order to make us stumble in our faith.  The “shield of faith” can only be effective when the “loins are girt about with truth”; when the “breastplate of righteousness” is in place, and our feet are “shod”, and prepared to preach the “foolishness” of the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The helmet of salvation is protection for the head; for if you lose the head you lose your life.  The Roman soldier’s helmet protected him from a simple blow to the head, and from being knocked unconscious from a seemingly minor blow, disabling him from the battle.  When an individual is born again they receive this salvation, as though awakened out of sleep or from death with this helmet.  It is from our head that we have our senses of sight, smell, hearing and taste; and without the head we would have no sense of touch.  The total body is ruled by the head.

It is with salvation one’s eyes are opened to the things of God; that one can begin to tell a spiritual stench from spiritual fragrance; that one begins to hear God’s commands and do what He says, that one can taste the Word of God, and that it is good, in fact DELICIOUS.

The apostle now proceeds to the offensive equipment/weapons.  The first item is the Sword of the Spirit.  The Roman soldier’s main offensive weapon was his sword.  Once trained in its use he could wield his sword with great accuracy and power.

Notice, by the text that this Sword is the “Word of God”.  The power of God’s Spirit in our lives is in the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit of God, who resides, dwells in every believer speaks to and through the one who is familiar with the Word of God.  The Sword would literally be the Word of God present, and at work in the spirit filled soldier of Jesus Christ; not just words on onion paper, and bound in leather; but written in our hearts.  The writer of Hebrews likened the Word to a “two edged sword,” and as  “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).  The sword of God’s Word is not only powerful to its handler, but also to anyone within its thrust.

The preacher of God’s Word can stand confidently knowing God’s Word and God’s Spirit work together in power, doing the work for which God intends it.  He can stand with that Bible in his hands and know, that no matter what portion of Scripture he uses; a message from God is being proclaimed.  The “rightly divided” Word.

STANDING WITH GOD IN PRAYER (vv. 18-20).  Not too many see it, but it seems to me that prayer must be the second offensive weapon that we have in Christ.  I wrote earlier that it is more powerful and an ICBM and accomplishes far more in God’s glory.  What could be more important for the soldier of Christ than to kneel before His presence, tell him our hearts fears concerning the battle, receive His encouragements, corrections and rebukes, and also receive His instruction for fighting the battle ahead?

A lot of spiritual warfare is fought on our knees.  As a matter of fact no victory will be secured if prayer is not practiced.  In prayer we find and receive power to do the will of God; we are strengthened and encouraged for the battle(s) ahead.  In prayer we are made alert to the things that are hated by God.  The Christian soldier, when he spends time with his Commander-In-Chief Jesus Christ learns to become like Him.

We pray for others, one another, all saints.  Remember saints are simply called by God out of sin unto faith in Christ Jesus.  We pray “in the Spirit” by praying according to the Spirit and not our own desires.  The Spirit prays in us which glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14).

In this text Paul request prayer for himself as well.  We ought always pray for our pastors, teachers, and all who have spiritual authority in the church.  Paul’s request was threefold:

1. That he might experience freedom in his preaching;
2. That he might speak boldly;
3. That he might clearly present the “mystery of the gospel”.

If you want to know how to pray for your pastor, and others who are in authority, biblically, and in the Spirit; here is the answer.

We are all “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20a), therefore, we all need prayer to be bold in our witness, and preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Be a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).  “Put on the whole armor of God,” and wield the “sword of the Spirit” in power; trusting the Lord Jesus Christ to accomplish His work in you; and in His word.  His word will not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Abraham, Prophet and Priest

Abraham, Prophet and Priest

The LORD had come to visit Abraham and Sarah and to reassure them of the fulfillment of the promise, and that promise was a son. It seems quite likely that Sarah’s faith was improved, strengthened by the appearance of the LORD.

When the LORD’s visit had come to an end they began to journey away from Abraham’s camp, and Abraham went with them for a distance. When the LORD comes and puts in a personal visit with you, shares the promise, and renews it who wouldn’t want to go on with Him? As they go walking the LORD contemplates sharing with Abraham something further that He is about to do. He shares it with Abraham. From this part of God’s visit we learn much about intercessory prayer.

“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:16-19 (KJV).

It would not be wrong to call Abraham a prophet. I am not sure there is anywhere in Scripture which calls him “Prophet”, but we know that he walked with God, even though there is no specific verse which tells us that. He is doing it right here in verse 16. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV). We also have the Lord revealing secret things to Abraham which would place him in the category of a prophet. “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (KJV). Is the LORD not here revealing a very secret thing to His friend Abraham? We must answer in the affirmative. According to the word of the LORD spoken above, He is giving to the descendants of Abraham and his children, that, “they shall keep the way of the LORD…” They are being given the oracles of God at this point. It is being given, and was given to them to do justice and judgment, and they were the people whom God used to born the Messiah, our Lord and Savior, into this world.

Prophets for the most part are messengers of God; warning God’s people, and in a lot of cases even the heathen of the coming wrath of God. In Abraham’s case he is not given the opportunity of being a prophet with a message to warn people, but he is given a message to pray for the people. It is especially a message to pray for Lot and his family, because they are living in the cities which are about to be destroyed.

We see in these the LORD’s confidence in Abraham being faithful to become what God has told him that he will become. God even says here (v.19), “I know him”. What a endowment of praise and encouragement that is to hear the LORD say of His friend, “I know him”. If the LORD knew Abraham, we have an assurance that He can know us too. Does the LORD know you? There is coming a day of judgment which we read of from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Himself, and He says, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity” That is not the words I desire to hear from His lips. That is not the desire I have to hear from His lips for any of my friends, family or any of those who might be seen as my enemies. I do not desire to hear that from His lips for debtors or creditors. The best and sweetest phrase I want to hear on that day is, “Enter into thy reward, thou good and faithful servant”. And, that for all who will hear and follow Jesus.

“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” Genesis 18:20-22 (KJV).

It was the LORD who had came to Abraham, visited with him, ate with him, and had wonderful fellowship with him. He has now sovereignly determined to reveal to Abraham what He is about to do. It is in verse 20 that the LORD speaks, and reveals to him what He is planning to do. We can know from the testimony of Scripture that God already knows the spiritual and moral condition of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is indeed, a very merciful thing for God to come down and appear to men. Three “men” had come and appeared to Abraham, and one he recognized as the LORD. The other two were inevitably angels. The LORD has remained behind to speak with Abraham, and reveal to him what He is about to do in the cities where Lot; his nephew and family are living.

By what we have in these three verses it seems that there is a “cry” from evil. Does evil have a voice, a cry? It must. According to Strong’s

H2201 = za‛aq ze‛a^qa^hzah’-ak, zeh-aw-kaw’ (Feminine): from H2199; a shriek or outcry: – cry (-ing).”

 

No one rejoices when evil rules a land, a city, a home, or a family. And the person who is practicing evil, has no form of joy or peace. It is their way of ‘Thumbing their nose’ at God, His Word, His Son, and His people. There is a cry from evil. Even evil hearts sooner or later will cry for justice, and they shall have it. Surely we can hear the cries of evil in our Country of the USA. Surely the scent of the blood shed in homes, cities, States, and our Nation is a putrid scent to all decent, law abiding people. Or, are we so, “law abiding”, that we don’t smell the scent, because we think we are a nation which has been built solely on man made laws? That is a stench in the nostrils of Holy God.

We as the people of God ought never forget that evil is “grievous” in the sight and sound of almighty God. With him there is no little immorality. It is all vile in His sight, and it cannot dwell in His presence. Apart from the grace of God no fallen man can dwell in His presence, unless, the price of sin, ie., the sin-debt has been paid in full. God owes no accountability to the devil. He is not accountable to the devil. God’s Word is not answerable to the devil. The sin-debt is owed to God; He is the One who is the offended party.

When evil people are in authority people mourn. In the Proverbs we find the wisdom of Solomon saying, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 (KJV). And we also find more wisdom from this wisest of men, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” Prov 29:2 (KJV). The cry of wickedness was horrific to the ears of holy God. The cry of wickedness is still horrific in the ears of God. They should be horrific to the ears of every child of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Like The Animals???

Like the Animals???

It is so very sad to look around at society and see things going to the dogs. With a man being sentenced to prison time for killing dogs, even though, he was unjustly and illegally fighting them is a sign of worse things to come.

We are human beings created in the image of God. We have been given, by God, the rule and dominion of this earth. The man I speak of may have deserved a fine, maybe some loss of time from playing on the team he was on, and maybe even a fine from the NFL for the bad name against them.

It is so unhuman to give greater power and authority to the animal kingdom than to the human being. It is when we begin acting like animals that we begin treating humanity more like animals.

Hear the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

“How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals?’ Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done–a restless young camel running here and there, a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her. Keep your feet from going undshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’ Jeremiah 2:23-25 (ESV).

Many reading this will probably think, “Well how is this relative or practical for our society today?” I personally think that is an easy answer. When we have parents wanting to do things to protect their daughters from sexually immoral living by having them take a shot to protect them from a form of cancer that can be gotten only by pre-marital sex at too young of an age, then we are telling our children, “Your urges are uncontrollable, just follow your ‘heart'”. In other words your sexual drive is stronger than your mind and will. Just go with how you feel and this vaccine will protect you. People we are more than animals. We have a will. We can make moral choices. Animals do not.

This was the problem with the people in Jeremiah’s day. They were giving themselves to Baal worship and this involved all sorts of immoral conduct. Then, they would say on the Sabbath day as they pretended to worship the Lord GOD, “We have not gone after the Baals”.

I do not mean to sound brash in what I am about to write here, but there are many of our young ladies and young men who go around acting like animals in heat. This is not pleasing to our Lord. Even sadder to say is that many of these doing this profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

What is the answer for our society today? We need to quit giving our young people the okay for sexual immorality. When birth control pills are given them, and a vaccine is provided to them to protect them from pregnancy and disease; we are in fact giving our okay to them. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s teach them the law of God’s Word. Let’s teach them by our own personal examples. The youth of America appreciate honesty, straight forward truth, and they will respect you for it. They will not respect “Hemming and Hawing around” about matters to get to the point.  As the people of God we who are adult Christians need to practice what we preach and teach. We should always be seeking the Lord to lead in our lives, and to give us the mind of Christ.

There is a lot of loose living in society. We as Christians should live a tight knit life in Christ, love our spouses, and be always faithful, and worship God and God alone through His Son Jesus Christ.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Ruler’s Need

The King Meets the Need of a Ruler

“While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.” “And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.” Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26 (KJV).

This man of the synagogue could very well represent anyone who is in a place of authority. This man’s name is Jairus. We know His name from reading the gospel according to Mark and Luke (Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41). Why Matthew does not name Jairus is not known, at least by me. Jairus being a religious ruler, when his daughter became very ill, suddenly did not care what his friends and associates thought about what he did.

This religious authority recognized a superior authority and worshipped Him. It is amazing what real needs do to people. A sense of desperate helplessness drove this man to a man his peers hated, despised, and counted as a blasphemer. Certainly this ruler recognized the truth of Jesus’s statement in verses twelve and thirteen. Now he needed a physician, at least for someone he loved and cherished, and that was his need too.

Jesus and His disciples followed Jairus home. They found the girl to be dead. Death offers no hope in the scene. The mourners are already mourning her death. Jesus, however, came into the world to deliver those who are “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1), and giving physical life to this girl is evidence and proof positive that He had power over life and death; both physical and eternal. The dead cannot have faith until there is regeneration. Jesus says, “The maid is not dead, but sleepeth”.

At the statement of Jesus’s words of assurance the people present at the home of Jairus’s family laugh at Jesus. We are told,

“And they laughed Him to scorn” – “Scorners who laugh at what they do not understand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of Christ.” From Matthew Henry Concise.

In the eyes of Jesus the young girl was only sleeping. Her body was dead, or sleeping as Jesus said it, but her soul and spirit were very much alive and alert. Death is but a sleep from which we can only be awakened by the power of Jesus. Those who make a mockery of Jesus are put out — run off. The girl arose from her “Sleep” at the touch of the voice of the Master – King Jesus.

At the voice of the King, our Master, we receive new life through Him.  He is the resurrection and the life.  That is our greatest need.

The Judgment that Stands

The Judgment That Will Stand

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matthew 7:24-29 (KJV).

The foundation is one of obedience. Is it required that a follower of Jesus be obedient? Should a child be obedient to their parents? Obedience is as a child to a parent or master who has our best interest at His heart. So my answer to those questions is YES!! Perseverance is the mark of obedient faith – it stands in the times of storms and trouble. It has a foundation which is built upon the Rock. This rock will never fall, nor will the foundation that is built upon this Rock.

There was a time when the Southern Baptist Convention was leaning very strongly toward liberalism; denying the truth of the authoritative Word of God, opening it up to what is called “Higher criticism”, and interpreting Scripture in light of our culture rather than for what it says. I was attending Boyce Bible School’s satellite branch in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1980. There was a discussion going on about the controversy among some of us students following a class. Some were questioning where to stand on this controversy. I answered this way. I said something like this, “Considering Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount to be a wise builder and build on the rock. You stand on the Rock” Someone asked, “Well which way is the Rock”, to which I said, “The one which is standing on the truths of God’s Word”. The best I can remember that was the end of the discussion. I know it was for me.

Jesus Christ Himself is the Rock, and we must trust Him to be our Rock of security, strength, and power. He is our authority. The people who heard this Sermon on the Mount realized His authority. “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”. He is the authority, and anyone who detracts from Him is a liar and a deceiver. His judgment and the judgment of His Word will stand forever.