The Roar from Zion

Many times looking at Scripture, even looking at the prophets of the Old Testament we get a rather gloomy picture of Judah and Israel.  However, gloom and doom is not the total picture.  We must see from the beginning to the end, and that is why God gave us the Scriptures and His only begotten Son.  He does have a purpose, and an expected ending.

Today we hear from the prophet Joel…

“The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”  Joel 3:15-17

To those who love this old earth, and all its ways the above verses sound gloomy, and believe me, if you do not know the LORD God, then it will not only be a gloomy day for you, but it will be your doom as well.

One of the things we can learn from the Bible is that God will have people know that He is the LORD God of hosts.  That is what He is working toward today.

The following is the study note form The Prophecy Study Bible page 939…

“3:15-16  The earthquake and blackout seem parallel with events described in Zechariah 14:4-5, which describes an earthquake that restructures a valley near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  This remodeling of Jerusalem will be accompanied by signs in the heavens, as God powerfully defends and vindicates His people Israel.”

Get ready.  Jesus is coming soon.

There is chaos, pain and sorrow in the world today; but through Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection there is hope for the future.  Hope in this life, and then, eternal life with Him.  That “Roar from Zion” will be the voice of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” the returning Christ Jesus.

Open the Book

In order to know the words, the acts, and purpose of a book one must open that book.  It does not matter if the book is historical, study, a novel of fiction, historical fiction, etc., educational that book must be opened.  Even an e-book must be opened to know its contents.

The Bible, the word of God, is no different in that way.  A lot of Christians say they believe the Bible, yet they rarely if ever open it.  In their homes it is a decoration on a bookshelf or on a table, but is never picked up and opened, except maybe on Sunday as the pastor opens it to read, and they might follow along.  How can a Christian grow without opening Scripture?  Growth would be a non-event in such case.

Hear from the book of Nehemiah…

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”  Nehemiah 8:5-6 (KJV)

This event for Nehemiah took place following the return of God’s people; after seventy years, from Babylonian captivity, and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall.  The people’s only access to Scripture was through the scrolls, and usually read by the priests and prophets of their day.  That is no excuse today.  Not too many people have or can legitimately say, “I do not have a Bible, neither do I have access to one.”  There are millions of copies of God’s word throughout the world.  Most people; if they want a copy they can get one.

At any rate look at what happened when Nehemiah opened the book.  Out of respect for the Word, the people stood up. It does not say they were asked to do so.  It does not say that anyone motioned for them to do so.  It simply says, “…All the people stood up”.  Then we are told they heard Nehemiah bless the LORD, and they answered “Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands, bowing their heads, and worshiping with their faces to the ground”.

O for the respect, reverence for the word of God from God’s people today.

I have attended many worship services where the preacher asked people to stand in reverence to the word of God.  Nothing wrong in that.  I do believe, however, if we the people had a real reverence for the word of God, when anyone in a meeting opens the word of God in our midst we ought to stand without a prompter.  The prompter should be the opening of the Book.

Most of all: be sure you open, read, and study the Book for yourself.  And notice how through the Spirit of God He will read you too.

Fear of the LORD

It is evident as I look over the world, and look into each culture on the earth; and not that I have done a thorough examination of any or all; but just an short observation.  My observation leads me to reach the conclusion that we as a race of people; the human race; do not have a fear of GOD.

In every culture, and nation, we make god in our own image, and after our own likeness; thus we can approve of anything, and everything, that suits “Me”.

Many times this is true even in Christianity.  There are many professors who proclaim that “God is so good and loving.  He would not cast anyone into a fiery place called Hell”.  Or “God is so loving, accepting, and kind that he loves same sex couples. He does not expect them to change their minds or their lives”.  Guess what?  Doing that you deny the God of the Bible, the Scriptures, and you have made god in  your own image and likeness.

Hear the Proverbs of Solomon…

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:26-27 (KJV)

We must understand that when we fear the LORD it is not that we go around trembling every time we mess up, or fear messing up (sinning).  To live in the “Fear of the LORD” is to live with confidence.  Confidence that when we do sin He is gracious, merciful and will forgive us.  When we live in the fear of God it is actually living in the love of God which is greater than all our sin.

John the apostle wrote in his first epistle,

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

When we fear the LORD we also will be like a “fountain of life” (Proverbs 13:14; 14:27).  The Word of God is like a fountain of running, flowing, fresh, refreshing, cleansing water that flows giving eternal life to all who will freely drink it.  Jesus said…

“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

That is a flowing, cleansing, refreshing stream of water flowing from Christian lives that shows what it really means to walk in the love of God.

To walk in the fear of the LORD is to believe what He says, then make Him all of our life, and live as He has given us privilege to do so.  Because of the gift of Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection we now have the right to be called the sons and daughters of GOD (John 1:12); but you must believe and receive what He has said, and what He has done.

Love and Discipline

Every parent has entered parenthood completely inexperienced.  O how we can mess things up.  We make many mistakes.  I am so thankful that God has given us a manual for raising children.  It is called the Bible; but it is so much more than a manual for raising children.

The book Proverbs is of a father instructing his son in the way of life and living in wisdom and knowledge.  So many times we neglect the teaching of children in the way of God, and give them many instructions, and disciplines for finances, marriage, and making a living.  If we teach them discipline in the things of God, then they can better learn to discipline themselves in those other matters.

“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the LORD loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Proverbs 3:11-12 (KJV)

I have heard parents say,  “I want to be a friend to my child”, and I guess they suppose that being a friend to their child will cause that child to love them more.  First you were given a child to be their parent, their teacher, their leader, their commanding officer;  you get the point.

Sometimes you need to give an erring child a good warm butt-warming as a loving parent.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:24

You are not loving your child by overlooking their rebellion, their bad language, or their rudeness and disobedience to you or any who are in authority.  Being a loving parent means you will teach them respect for yourself, and others in places of authority.

We also need to realize as adults that we ourselves are under authority, and must be respectful to the authorities.  If we are not we will pay the consequences for it.  Disrespect will gain us chastening, some form of discipline such as a speeding ticket, a fine for not wearing a seat belt; or for something more serious maybe time in jail or prison.

As a Christian we should appreciate the chastening of the LORD.  It is because He loves us that He chastens us.  His discipline shows us, and is proof that He loves us.  It shows that He has the best plan for our life, and that He will get us to the place He wants us.  Let me remind you of the letter to the Hebrews words…

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:6-11

Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ believe on Him today and become a regenerated child of God.

…Night and Day With Tears

There was something on Paul’s mind as he stated these recorded words.  Luke sensed it, saw it first hand, then wrote it down for the Church through every age might to read, and to know that there are things which happen in the Church, in every local congregation which will need to be addressed.  The Church in every age needs to hear the warnings of Scripture, and to heed them.

“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:26-31 (KJV)

As Paul, so should the Bible preacher, Bible teacher, Bible Christian of 2017  proclaim “All the counsel of God”.  Not part, but all.  Far too often men stand in the pulpit saying words people want to hear, rather then being the preacher of God saying what God says; what God wants us to hear.  May God forgive us.

The apostle had not shunned the responsibility to warn of “Wolves” fierce liars, deceivers, scam artists who would come in to lead people astray, and devour them; devour you if you do not live by the word of God.

Men of God have the responsibility to speak to the Church, who is bought with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; and Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son; so yes God has purchased us with His own blood (also see 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

It is imperative that the flock learn to identify the false teachers [the wolves] who are coming in to deceive, destroy, steal and kill.  You must know the truth of the word of God.  Read it. Study it. Apply it to daily living.  Know who Jesus truly is; and when you know Him, having the Holy Spirit in you you will not be deceived, but will know a lie when it is about to strike.  Then, you will reject it.  You will warn others of it, and like Paul “…night and day with tears”.

What makes you weep?  Maybe I need to ask, “What makes me weep?”  I have wept about many things; including not having enough money to pay the rent or the house payment.  I have wept over a broken down car, because I did not have the means to get it repaired.  I have wept over the sickness of a child because we had no insurance or money to take them to the doctor.  I am glad to say, though, that I have wept over lost souls as well.  I have wept when I have noticed brethren in Christ being led astray, going down the path of sin and shame; and into false doctrines, and living.

O for my heart to weep over the wayward sheep of Christ Jesus.  If you are a Christian today get into the Word of God, and most of all let the word of God get into you.  There is a place for rejoicing, always.  There is also a time for weeping, and that time is now.

Weep for the deceived.  Weep for the perishing.  Weep for the word of God to have a powerful affect on the lives of all the people you know through the Lord Jesus Christ who has purchased us with His own blood.

Trust in GOD: Rejoice

“But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee. For Thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt Thou compass him as with a shield.” Psalm 5:11-12 (KJV)

One of the most glorious things about the Bible, and it is the Word of God; is that right in the middle of it is a Song Book. One hundred and fifty of the most wonderful songs that have ever been written. Most of them probably written by David.

Psalm 5 shows David’s anger toward evil, and that God is angry toward evil. We can understand that their is none righteous except those whom God declares righteous. We cannot declare ourselves as righteous. That is an empty endeavor. A vain thing.

“Let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice” Yes! All trust must be placed in Jehovah [YHWH]. He is a Jealous God; and is worthy of all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Jehovah is our Defender; our Righteousness; and our Shield. Let us shout for joy. Let us rejoice every morning when we awake. When we roll from our beds, and our feet hit the floor let our first thoughts be of Him; and not the dread of the day ahead.

Do you have God’s favor today? When you come to Him through His Son Jesus who is Righteousness in person; through the cross – His death, burial and resurrection – you have His favor.

Let all those who put their trust in God rejoice.

Jehovah Reigns

“The LORD reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.” Psalm 93:1 (KJV)

The Bible never makes any secret of the fact, the truth that there is God; that He is supreme; that He is Sovereign over all the earth, and the Universe He has made.

The Psalmist states it very clearly “The LORD [Jehovah; YaHWeH] reigneth”.  He not only reigns, but He is clothed with majesty, strength, and it has come from Himself.  He has done it Himself.  He is GOD, and there is none else.

All He has made is established, and it cannot be changed; it cannot be moved.  His word is sure.  What He has said is sure.  Not one word will be diminished.

You and I can believe and trust this One who has made all things.  We can even see Him as we look at His Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins.  Hear what Jesus says,

“Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” John 14:8-11

Note what Jesus said,  “He that has seen Me has seen the Father”.  Jesus the Son of God, and God the Son.  By Him were all things made that are made (John 1:3; Colossians 1:12-17).

He is clothed in Majesty, and the whole world is in His hands accomplishing His will and purposes for His own glory.

Know That I Am the LORD

“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.” Exodus 29:45-46 (KJV)

After spending time with Moses giving him direction and commandment concerning the priestly garments, their materials, making, and anointing God gives Moses the above words.

There is a woven theme throughout all the Old Testament, and that is that GOD desires that the world may “know that I AM the LORD.”  Everything that is written in the Bible is written that the world may know Him, and that He is the LORD.

The ultimate gift of GOD to the world that we might know Him, and that He is the LORD was sending His only begotten Son to die on the cross in our place; and that when we look upon Him, to Him, trusting Him we might have redemption through His blood.

Do you know today that God is the LORD?

Great is the LORD…

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.” Psalm 48:1 (KJV)

Greatness is often ascribed to athletes, business men, presidents, world leaders, sometimes even preachers, and teachers.  To give credit where credit is due is a good thing, but let us face it there are none who are so great.

Men or women  we lift up and place on pedestals can fall off the stands so easily.  We have seen athletes fall, presidents, business men and women alike come crumbling down.  None of us are “Great”.

There is only One who is Great; and that is the LORD.  He alone is worthy of praise, honor and glory.  The one’s whose hearts are knit with His, are the one’s who should greatly praise Him.

When we read the Bible, and as we read the Psalms we find that these words are really not about us; they are about the One who made us, along with all that is.  We live in a time, and culture where everything is about “Me”.  However, it should be about Him.

Great is the LORD, and He is greatly to be praised with our lives, our hearts, our minds and our strength.  He is holy, separate from all things and worthy.  True praise and worship of the LORD will begin when you trust and believe in the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, and trust His finished work on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Let praise of Him begin today.

In the Beginning

Sermon Points –

In the Beginning

Genesis 1:1-5, 26-31

1. The Bible Never Sets Out to Prove the Existence of God – It Assumes the Existence of God (v. 1).

2. God is the Creator of Heaven and Earth – All Things (v. 1).

3. The Earth Was the Foundation Upon Which God Made the Things on Earth (v. 2).

4. God Spoke Light Into Existence – This Was the First Day, and It Was Good (v. 3-5).

5. On the Sixth Day God Made Man In His Own Image To Have Dominion Upon the Earth (vv. 26-31

Through the Bible in a Year – 022413

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

Things That Really Count
Numbers 11 – 30

In our world today everything is digital. What does that mean. Some how the “experts”, at least those in the know about such things have figured out how we can have cell phones digitally; with their towers digitally; televisions are digital now; the computers are digital.

A “digit” is defined in the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICITONARY as “any of the figures 1 to 9 inclusive and usually the symbol 0.”

Some how the numbers 1 and 0 are the link to it all. When you have the right equipment you can place those numbers in “cyber space”, pull them out with a CD player, DVD player, or HDTV picture, and you have music, movies in your home and over the air, sattelite TV.

We look in the Bible and we see Digital is nothing new with God. Numbers or Digits do count with God.

1. The People Count;

2. The Sacrifices Count;

3. Disobedience Counts toward Judgment (Chapters 11-16);

  • We see complaining of hunger in the numbers (11);
  • We see unbelief in the numbers (12-14);
  • We see envy of leadership (16);

4. There is a Prophet who Counted for Profit (23-25);

5. The Rock in the Wilderness Counts (20:7-11; Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4);

6. The Inheritance Counts for All (26-30; Romans 8:16-17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Fighting, The Spiritual Warfare

Let me give a disclaimer on the matter of “Spiritual warfare”.  I do not, nor will not claim to be an authority, or even very knowledgeable on the matter of the battle which we as Christians must fight everyday if we are to maintain a proper fellowship with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ.

I do believe Jesus taught us by example how to wage this war against the legions of Hell and their Desperator.  Since he is the agent of despair, doubt, and fear; and a theif, a murderer, and destroyer I believe the name “Desperator” would fit, though I cannot find this term used in a dictionary.  Maybe a new word?  Meaning the chief one who causes despair.  My focus is not, however, upon him, but rather upon the One who brought about his defeat.

The example of Jesus’s battle with the devil begins with,

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred.  And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’  But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’  Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’  Jesus said unto him, ‘It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’   Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’  Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’  Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.”  Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV)

Upon reading the passage from Matthew’s gospel we see that in Jesus’s weakness following a 40 day 40 night fast the  devil confronts Jesus concerning His identity and person.  I heard one preacher put it like this; “In the first temptation the devil attempts to get to His desire for SURVIVAL; in the second he attempts to get to His desire for SECURITY;  in the third and final temptation he attempts to get at his desire for SUCCESS.  These are seen in each of these temptations.

They are also relevant in light of the temptations which John the apostle mentions…

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  1 John 2:16

and we find these also in the Garden of Eden as Eve is being tempted of the devil through the serpent.

For the Christian to grow more into the image of Christ Jesus we must be knowledgeable of the Word of God; live by it; make it our life daily; ruminate upon it.  In short “Hear, trust, and obey”.

Satan, the devil questions the Sonship of Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…”, then tells him to turn stones into bread to prove it; using the “lust of the flesh” and the need of SURVIVAL,  and Jesus responds with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3).  Then the devil assaults Jesus with a temptation of SECURITY, or “the lust of the eyes”, even using Scripture himself, and once again Jesus quells the temptation with Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:16).  At the final temptation the devil uses SUCCESS, or “the pride of life” in offering Jesus the world; with that again Jesus goes to Scripture, and puts the temptation back on the devil from whence it came (Deuteronomy 6:13).

We can learn from this event in the life of Jesus that there are three basic temptations the devil will hurl at us.  There are are many sins in this world; but all of them are connected to the three.  Jesus gives us a lesson on how to overcome the temptations of the devil.  We must be in the Scriptures – both the Old and New Testaments.  Remember, the only Bible that Jesus had, and the only Bible the apostles had was the Old Testament; and after the establishment of the Church, then the New Testament.

Without one or both of them we will be defenseless against the evil one.  Paul the apostle gives us good advice in Spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-20.  I am fearful that we Christians; at least far too many of us have “Walked into the enemies camp, and laid our weapons down”; and to our peril.

Let’s take them up again; beginning with the Word of God, and making it our Word from God daily.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 30 – Inspirational and Encourageing

Today marks the thirtieth day for the journey through the Bible in ninety days.  I have been thoroughly blessed, inspired, and encouraged.  I have also learned things I did not know, helping me to realize even more that “The more I know; the more I realize I do not know.”  I am now one third of the way through this journey and looking forward to the next 6o days.

I was greatly inspired and encouraged by reading through Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah this morning; thus, the title for today’s post.

In yesterday’s reading, finishing 2 Chronicles we were left with Judah going into Babylonian captivity, Jerusalem being destroyed, the walls broken down, the temple destroyed, and all the vessels, gold, silver, bronze, taken to the storehouses of Babylon; just as the prophet Jeremiah warned and foretold.  The prophet Isaiah had warned of this destruction, and captivity at least one hundred years before it happened.

Some may ask, “Why do you put so much stock in the Bible?”  and my answer to that is, “Because, when God speaks, it comes to pass; just like He says it.”  There is not one word God speaks that has been diminished, is being diminished, or will be diminished.  That is why I was so inspired and encouraged by Ezra and the first four chapters of Nehemiah.

Someone has said, and I believe it was written by Charles H. Spurgeon; “God will not allow His children to sin successfully.”  Reading the Bible sure helps us see that.  God pulls no punches.  We can see clearly that God deals with sin.  We see also that He is gracious, and slow to anger and wrath.  He is also merciful in not giving us what we truly deserve.

According to Jeremiah’s prophecy the nation of Israel would be in Babylonian captivity for seventy years.  At the time of Ezra that seventy years has been fulfilled, and we read –

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, ‘Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.  And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place helpa him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”  Ezra 1:1-4 (KJV)

Now here is a catcher for you.  The prophet Isaiah names the king that will do this probably 150 years or more before Cyrus is born.  How can this be?  The prophet, being inspired by God; God who knows all things; who knows the past, present and the future, and knows your name; and knew you before you were born; told the prophet what was going to happen, and to write it down.  Isaiah did –

“That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.’ Isaiah 44:28

‘Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.  For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me.”  Isaiah 45:1-4 (KJV)

In Ezra God has  put it in the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia to fulfill His word of promise to Israel/Judah and have the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt, even to providing the precious metals and all necessary costs at Persia’s expense.

God’s purpose in the captivity was to drive Israel from her sins, and to give rest to the land for the sabbath years the people had avoided to observe (2 Chronicles 36:21), and to restore their faith in Him.  In reading Ezra we read of much opposition from people of the area, even putting the work of the temple to a standstill until the king finds that it had been ordered by Cyrus years before, then the work is continued with the approval of Persia.  Haggai, and Zechariah were two prophets  who prophesied during this time, and encouraged the people to continue building without the approval of the king of Persia, until they did receive it (chapters 5 – 6).

Ezra went to encourage and lead in the temple’s rebuilding and to teach the word and law of the LORD –

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”  Ezra 7:10

There are some things I read in Ezra about their divorcing the foreign wives and sending them away that poses some problems. However, the problem was their sins and disobedience to the word of God, not God’s causing.  How seriously should God’s people take the matter  of holiness?  Very seriously.

Nehemiah had a burden for the building of the walls of Jerusalem.  He is sent by the king to go and rebuild the city.  He surveys the city walls, the city (chapter 2:12-20), then he challenges the people and they comply joyously with his requests.  Now see what God has wrought in the Old Testament with Judah.

Now, think of what God can do with you if you would surrender yourself to the way of Salvation which is found only through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial where all our sin, guilt and condemnation was carried away as far as East is from West, and then He arose bodily from the grave; and is today seated by the Father’s right hand as our Great High Priest.  There is no one but Him who can deliver you from your sin.

Inspirational and Encourageing?  To me it definitely is.

– Tim A. Blankenship

Day 15 – Prayer versus Prayerlessness

Let me get something straight.  Prayer is to the Creator of all that is through His Son Jesus Christ.  The prayers of the Old Testament which were answered by GOD were answered by looking forward to the cross in faith.  They believed God, and it was counted unto them for righteousness.

In the reading this morning I read Joshua 9 – 22.  There was deceit, fraud by the Gibeonites out of fear for their lives; and there was a failure to pray on the part of the Israelites.

“And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.”  Joshua 9:14 (KJV)

The leaders of Israel looked and saw the food and drink the Gibeonites had with them, believed them to be a distant people, and made a covenant with them.  Had they prayed they might have avoided a lot of headaches later on.

We see an example of a man calling on the LORD; Joshua in particular and seeing one of the miracles of the Bible come to pass;

“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.’   And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.   And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:12-14

You will note that Joshua spoke to the LORD, and gave command for the sun to stand still.  Now from a human point of view that would be impossible; but our God is not limited to the possible.  He is the God of the impossible.  That is, afterall, because He is GOD.  This was due to one man whose heart was faithful in calling on the name of the LORD, and believed the GOD of the impossible made it possible.  Joshua, by the power of GOD spoke to the sun and moon to stop in their course through the universe, and provide a few more hours to accomplish the work that was before them; and God did it.

The we see a couple of times when there must have been a lack of prayer and faith.  When we are not given to the word of God and prayer; faith will be in short supply.  The enemy will be most difficult to overcome; and we will find ourselves accommodating them.

“As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out: but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.” 15:63

and another time;

“Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.” 17:13

This is tied to the matter of obedience as well.  Had they been faithful in prayer, obedience to the commands of the LORD, they would have been faithful to driving out the inhabitants of the land, destroying the evil of the land.  In their disobedience they brought trouble into their camps.

There is a lesson here for the children of God today; the Christian, the follower of Christ.  Rid your hearts and lives of the evil.  Make no compromise with all that is vile and evil in your heart and life.  Be swift at the destruction of evil within.  Stay in prayer and the Word of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 3 – Destiny of a Nation

Many trust in what is called fate.  Some trust in faith as though faith has power of its own.  “Just have faith” is what is heard quite often.  What is the difference in “fate” and “faith”.  Fate is events guided by events to the best of my knowledge; “What ever will be will be” mentality.  Faith is belief in something or someone to have power of guiding events or times or things even; but “faith” in what or whom?  It does make a difference what you believe.

As we  continue at reading the Bible through in these next 87 days we will find that there is a Person; a divine Individual who is guiding the events and times of our lives.

That is evident in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  We can see it in the life of Joseph as well.

God told Abraham back in Genesis 15:13-14,

“And He said unto Abram, ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”

Then as we read today in Genesis 29 – 42 we find one of Jacob’s children, a younger son, is sold into slavery by his older brothers due to their jealousy, and Joseph ends up in Egypt, in prison and eventually the Pharoah’s second man ruling the nation.

Joseph was a man of dreams, and passion for God, His promises, and His Word.  Joseph dreamed that all his brethren would one day bow down to him,

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.  And he said unto them, ‘Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.’  And his brethren said to him, ‘Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?’ And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.  And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, ‘Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.’ And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, ‘What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?’ And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Genesis 37:5-12 (KJV)

I tell this because it was by his faith in God Joseph was able to deal with the betrayal of his own brethren, the selling into Egypt, the false accusation of Potiphar’s wife, and his imprisonment.  Through it all Joseph kept God as his guide, his comfort and his strength.  Believing that God would bring about what He had shown him in his dreams.

After Joseph has arrived in Egypt and imprison; in prison Joseph continues to say and believe,

“Do not interpretations belong to God?”  Genesis 40:8   and,

“It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”  41:16

The Psalmist even mentions Joseph in the 115th Psalm,

“Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.” (v.19)

Faith that God is guiding the affairs of His people to be a great nation was a part of Joseph’s life.  He believed God, and though it does not say it by verse, and words; it says it by implication; “It was counted to him for righteousness.

God not only guides and directs nations; he directs individual lives.  He prefers to use you for good and His glory.  He will do that through your faith in His Son Jesus; as you humbly bow before Him as your own personal Lord and Savior; believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead; and that He is eternally alive; and through Him you will live eternally.

Believe/Trust and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 1 – Genesis 1 – 14

The first day of reading through the Bible in ninety days is here.  I have completed the first 14 chapters.  As I told you in the last post I will be reading the Bible in the New Living Translation, which I realize is a weak “translation”, but it has an ease of reading which the KJV does not have, thus and can read without too much distraction by trying to decipher the days, months and years; lengths, weights  and such.

I did discover in my reading of the first fourteen chapters that there is much with the NLT which I have problems with in interpretation, but as I wrote of one of those problems in my journal, it could be a matter of perspective.

That problem was the NLT’s interpretation of Genesis 10:25,

“Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg—“division”—for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups and dispersed. His brother’s name was Joktan.”  Genesis 10:25 (NLT)

Now the KJV,

“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” Genesis 10:25 (KJV)

The problem I have with the NLT here is that it provides and interpretation that is not present in the text.  The word “earth” in the KJV is “eh’-rets” in Hebrew and can mean various things,

“From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land): –  X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.”  From Strongs Concordance — e-Sword.

The people had been divided by the change difference in languages, and there could have been a massive moving of the planet earth as well; not only causing a dividing of languages, but also of the land.  That is my thought on the matter.

We find in the reading of Genesis 1 – 14 that God is the Creator; that He created the earth and all things upon it in a seven day period.  On the sixth day having already prepared things for the crowning of creation He creates humanity, beginning with Adam, then his wife Eve.  Things were without problem in the garden God had prepared for them.  He even spent time with them in that garden, at least at one point He came to visit them, and found them hiding from Him.

Here we find the answer for all the ills and problems in our world today.  Why is there killing, sickness, disease, hardships of all sorts?  It comes down to this point that the first man and woman did not listen to God, nor obey His commandment.  That one commandment was,

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'” Genesis 2:16-17

Following their sin of disobedience, God comes to them, finds them hiding from Him and God drives them from paradise; places a guardian at the gate of Eden preventing their way to eternal life at the Tree of Life, and they begin to die.  Adam Eve have two sons Cain and Abel.  Rebellion sets in Cain’s heart even to the point of killing his brother.  God curses Cain.

Adam and Eve have other children.  We find the godly lineage in chapter 5; however there is much evil on the earth, and God destroys the earth and every land going animal; except for those He has chosen to save through the only justified man living.  “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (6:8).  The flood comes.  Noah, his wife, their sons, and their sons wives are in the ark of redemption with the chosen animals – 7 of each clean animal; 2 of each unclean.  My how God is full of grace and mercy.

From paradise to death to hope through Abram and a new land.  A new people, nation, a Promised Redeemer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

New Bible Reading Adventure

I hope the title of this post sparked some interest.  Starting February 01 I will be starting a new Bible adventure in reading through God’s holy, inspired, infallible Word.  I, with God’s help and strength, will endeavor to read through all 1,189 chapters of the Old and New Testaments in ninety days.

If you would like to take up the challenge and join me let me know by leaving a comment, and telling me.  I will also endeavor during those days February 1 – April 30 to write a daily comment or comments concerning something of the chapters I have read.  My goal is to read 14 chapters per day for 90 days.  I am a slow reader, so I will plan on at least an hour to read it maybe more; and I do not want to alarm anyone, but I will be reading from the New Living Translation, rather than the King James Version.

Each year since surrendering to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God I have set my goal of reading through the Word at least once per year.  There have been a couple of those years I failed to do that; but I was always at a loss for missing it.

Let’s stop ignorance of the Bible by starting with ourselves.  Will you join me?  Leave your comment and let me know.  You might be made a different person by April 30, 2012.

Let me leave this caveat’ with you.  All this will be according to the will of our Lord; because we are not promised February 1, 2012; little lone April 30, 2012.  I also know that if we  read 14 chapters a day it will be finished in about 85 days.  That does give us a little bit of room, if we get caught short on time or something on some days.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

What the Preacher Says

There are some who have much to say but say little biblically.  There are some who build up the hearts of men with their words, but build not up the heart of God with His Word.  Then, there are those who are like Jeremiah who heard the LORD speak,

“Say not, I am a child:  for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.”  Jeremiah 1:7

Consider this before you enter the sacred desk next time.

What does the preacher have to say?  Only the Word of God; nothing else.

-Tim A. Blankenship

What the Preacher has to Say

There are some who have much to say but say little biblically.  There are some who build up the hearts of men with their words, but build not up the heart of God with His Word.  Then, there are those who are like Jeremiah who heard the LORD speak,

“Say not, I am a child:  for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.”  Jeremiah 1:7

Consider this before you enter the sacred desk next time.

What does the preacher have to say?  Only the Word of God; nothing else.

-T.A.

B F & M – God – The Holy Spirit

There seems to be many professing Christians who are not seeing the Trinity of God in Scriptures.  The teaching is clearly revealed throughout the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit is the one that many want to leave out of the picture.  They only see Him as a power, an influence, but not a person of the Godhead, or the final person of the Trinity.

We Baptists believe in the Trinity, because it is a doctrine of Scripture.  Many will say, “That word ‘trinity’ is nowhere used and the Bible”, and they would be correct, yet the idea is clearly presented as I declared in an earlier post.  The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all at work “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1-3); the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are again clearly seen at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3).

The following is from our Statement of Faith concerning the Holy Spirit:

“C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.”

It was by the Spirit of God, also known as the Holy Spirit, that we have Holy Scripture and by these we can know God, His Son Jesus, and the power of the Spirit.  It is because of the Spirit that we are “Sealed until the day of redemption”,

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV).

Without the Holy Spirit of God moving there is no one who would ever be saved and delivered from sin and its temptations.  Jesus was dependent upon the Holy Spirit.  It was the Spirit who led Him into the wilderness and strengthened Him for those 40 days and nights.  It is by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we know we are the children of God.

“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”  Romans 8:9b (NKJV).

The Spirit of Christ is, of course, the Holy Spirit.  It is also the Holy Spirit who equips Christians to serve the Lord Jesus.  He points all to Christ, glorifying Him and Him alone.  He does not call attention to Himself, but to Christ.  We can know that anytime anyone is magnifying the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their lives they are completely out of line with Scripture, and out of fellowship with God.

We as Baptists have often been accused of neglecting the work of the Holy Spirit, but that is not really the case.  We see Him as being quietly, peaceably, behind the scenes glorifying our Savior, giving us power to live for the honor and glory of Jesus, and calling no attention to ourselves, but Jesus alone.

-T.A.

B F & M – God: The Son

One of the very basic doctrines of Baptists is the belief and Biblical teaching of the deity of Jesus Christ.  The Bible is quite clear on this teaching, and it is clear from much of Jesus’s own words.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning Jesus Christ:

“B. God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.”

Jesus was with the Father in the creation of all that is.  It is even said of Jesus, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” John 1:3 (KJV).  Then, again in Colossians the apostle Paul wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.”  Colossians 1:16-17 (KJV).

When you follow the ministry of Jesus through the Gospels you see much more than a man.  You see God who became flesh; “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NKJV).  We see Him changing water to wine (John 2); we find Him walking on the water (John 6:15-21);  we see Him feeding five thousand people with only “five barley loaves  and two small fish” (John 6:1-14);  we also, see Him stilling a storm on the sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27).  That is only a small number of the mighty things which Jesus did as the Son of God, God become flesh as He walked among men.  Only God can do these mighty things.

Jesus, also claimed deity for Himself. “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.  Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbat, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”  John 5:17-18 (NKJV).  There are many who will admit that Jesus is the Son of God, but will not confess that He is indeed God incarnate.  If indeed He is the Son of God, that in itself declares He is God.

It is in Jesus Christ alone by which we are saved.

-T.A.

Baptist Faith and Message – Scriptures

In this article I will write about the Scriptures, or otherwise know as the Bible, the Holy Bible.  The first statement made in this article is the first statement of Southern Baptist Statement of Faith called the “Baptist Faith and Message”.  It has Scripture references with it.

“I. The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.”

One of the references given is from 2 Timothy 3:15-17, and is probably the most known among Southern Baptists and probably all Baptists.

“… That from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV).

As Baptists we believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God.  If anyone only believes that the Bible only “contains the Word of God”, then they are not truly Baptists.

By the Word of God we can know God, His heart, His passion, and we can know that He loves the human race.  We also can know that Scriptures are profitable for doctrine, ie., teaching; for reproof, ie., the exposing of error and heresy; for correction – that is setting forth of discipline in the church; and for instruction in righteousness – showing the people the things which will be pleasing to God and will glorify Him.

A second portion of Scripture I want us to look at is 2 Peter 1:19-21:

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 1:10-21 (NKJV)

When we study the Word of God we can rest assured that there will be no portion of it to contradict, lead us astray, or bring shame to our lives, or rob the glory that belongs only to God.  Not one verse can stand on its own, nor can one man’s interpretation of any one verse stand alone.  The verses of Scripture  must be understood in the light of the whole.

When you trust God and His Word, you have nothing to fear.  If we fear God we need fear nothing else.

-T.A.

Originally posted at All Things Baptist (June ’07)

Morning Devotion from C. H. Spurgeon

I read the morning devotion for June 10 by Charles Spurgeon this morning, and it touched my heart.  I want to share with the few who come here.

Romans 14:8
We live unto the Lord.

If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven, and to be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, though he has but just believed in Jesus. It is true that our sanctification is a long and continued process, and we shall not be perfected till we lay aside our bodies and enter within the veil; but nevertheless, had the Lord so willed it, He might have changed us from imperfection to perfection, and have taken us to heaven at once. Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on the battle-field when one charge might give them the victory? Why are His children still wandering hither and thither through a maze, when a solitary word from His lips would bring them into the centre of their hopes in heaven? The answer is-they are here that they may “live unto the Lord,” and may bring others to know His love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as heralds publishing salvation. We are here as the “salt of the earth,” to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, and as “workers together with Him.” Let us see that our life answereth its end. Let us live earnest, useful, holy lives, to “the praise of the glory of His grace.” Meanwhile we long to be with Him, and daily sing-

“My heart is with Him on His throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
‘Rise up, and come away.'”

I pray the Lord uses this to draw you nearer to Him.

T.A.

Sowing Seeds

I attended the Bible Evangelism Conference of Barry County Southern Baptist Association this morning and heard some very passionate, heart pounding, convicting messages from God’s servants the evangelists who God sent our way for the week.

The one for which I get my title comes from our new Director of Missions who was filling in for an Evangelist who had to leave because his wife became ill and he had to go home.  Brother Randy challenged us to sow seeds of the gospel and for the invitation we were challenged to come and take a small packet of seeds, in a sealed plastic bag to keep where we could see it everyday and it would be a reminder to us to be faithful in sowing the seeds of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The final verses of Scripture he read were Psalm 126 which says,

 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.  Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.  The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.  Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. 

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.  He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

and focusing on those final verses,  “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy…rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”.

May I be a daily gospel seed sower, and trust God to give the increase.

-Tim A. Blankenship