Expressing the Love of Christ

An Expression Of Love

Romans 16:1-27

Love is a very powerful and important quality. It shows character, concern and caring. Love is one of the characteristics of God. It is a characteristic that is modeled in God’s people. Love is much more than simple emotion. It is an act, a decision, an expression.

Paul demonstrated much love. His commendations toward his brothers and sisters in Christ – fellow workers and ministers of the gospel – expresses much love and appreciation. Many of these people – Priscilla and Aquila for example – risked their very lives for Paul (vv. 3-4). Anyone should recognize the sacrifice which must have been made by them. How can you keep from loving someone who has given so much. Some of these people had the church meeting in their homes. Some were prisoners with Paul. Some were servants in noblemen’s households. All were loved by Paul.

It is also noted that there was some room for confrontational correction. Love warns, instructs, encourages, and corrects. Those who cause division by false teaching, working against the leadership, and the mission of the Church, or cause strife with the church leaders are to be avoided.

Coming near the end of the letter Paul speaks of those who had worked along side of him doing and preaching the word of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then last, but not least, the apostle gives honor and glory to whom honor and glory is due and belongs. The One to whom honor and glory is due and belongs is, of course, God. We honor and glorify Him by hearing His Son Jesus and believing Him.

1. Love Is Expressed In The Family Of Faith (vv. 1-16).

*God is love (1 John 4:8b). That love is seen and expressed by the love of His people.
*Because there is so often conflict within the church does not mean we must be disagreeable with one another. Disagreements happen in the homes of Christians, but they stay together.
*Phebe was a sister, the one delivering the letter of Romans to the Christians of Rome, and most likely came to know Jesus through Paul’s ministry.
*Priscilla and Aquila – husband and wife – hazarded their own lives for Paul’s.
*Andronicus and Junia were fellow prisoners with Paul at one time or other. They too stood for Jesus Christ and the gospel. They too were messengers of the gospel.
*People who were servants of “Caesar’s household”, and the households of Aristobulus and Narcissus. These households were probably well-known, high society people. God has a way of placing His people in strategic locations. We are to serve God wherever He has placed us.
*We, as Christians, ought always greet one another with warm affection, the love of Christ.

2. Love Exposes Sources Of Division In The Family Of Faith (vv. 17-20).

*There are people in some churches, or even who seek out churches where they can cause division; by teaching false doctrines, by the error of Balaam, ie., causing others to fall, etc..
*The one who teaches the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, and who labors for God and the people of God, and the ministry is not the source of division. The ones who come in trying to bring in heresies, and division are truly the dividers
*Unwillingness to be taught, false teaching, hatred envy, going outside God’s guidelines causes division in the local Church. An unwillingness to cooperate with godly leadership; a malicious, slanderous spirit and tongue are sources of division. The loving leader will expose, and correct those who are trouble makers within the Church.
*Do that which is good in the local Church. Be wise toward evil, its way and its harm.
*Grace is the element that sets Christianity apart from world religions.

3. Love Honors The Faithful Servants Of The Lord (vv. 21-24).

*Paul now names those who have been faithful servants serving with him. Timothy for one, and we know from 1 Timothy 1:2 that Paul referred to him as, “My own son in the faith”. Timothy was discipled by the apostle to the Gentiles.
*The apostle desired the church of Rome to know about Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater who may have been brothers by physical birth, or at least brothers in the faith. They were admirers of the Roman Christians.
*Tertius was Paul’s secretary. He has penned down all the letters. He also sends a salute to Rome.
*Gaius is the homeowner where Paul is the guest. Gaius is a man of hospitality, and loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and His servants.
*Erastus was possibly the city treasurer of Corinth.
*Quartus was a brother in Christ who loved Paul, and was a devout supported of his ministry.

4. Love Honors And Lauds The God Of All Power, Glory, And Grace (vv. 25-27).

*Doxology are words of praise to the One and only who is worthy of worship and praise. He has revealed a great mystery. The mystery of the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit in Paul has given GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION more clearly than we deserve.
*God alone is the One of power to set us firmly in the security of the gospel. He alone is worthy of our faith. Faith alone calls us to obedience to the commands of God, because faith believes and trusts that God is over all; He is sovereign.
*“To Him be glory through our Lord Jesus Christ for ever. A-men.”

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus in Genesis (4)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Revelation 19:10b  We have been Looking For Jesus in Genesis. This time we are going to see His appearance in two situations of two different people. The first is to Hagar. Some may ask, “You mean Hagar saw Jesus?” My answer will follow. The other one, of course, would be Abraham. That would not surprise us so much. Would it?

The appearance to Hagar takes place following the conception of Ishmael. Genesis 16. If you will remember the story Sarah became a little impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham, so she offers her husband her servant as a wife to have a child. When Hagar conceives she really wants to “Rub it in” with Sarah. It almost seems that Sarah mistreats Hagar, maybe even to the point of beating her, and that drives her away. Hagar had basically become quite arrogant toward Sarah, and you can hardly blame Sarah for her behavior, yet you can see the weakness and danger of more than one wife.

When Hagar fled, she probably thought for her life, an

“Angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water…” (v. 7).

This is what has been termed a “Pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ”. It certainly seems to me to be Jesus before He ever became flesh and blood human. This person is certainly more than an angel of God. He speaks in verse ten saying,

“I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (v. 10).

No angel could say that. It must of necessity be Jesus Christ the Living Word.

Hagar is believed by many to be the mother of the Arabian people, the Muslim people. If you will notice the words of Jesus to Hagar they are ones of comfort, encouragement, yet, rebuke as well. She has flaunted her pregnancy toward Sarah. She is told by the Lord to return to Sarah, “And submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:9). Hagar is given a promise for her child which would be born to her. In chapter 17 God promises Abraham that He will bless Ishmael in verse 20.

“…Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Why would Jesus reveal Himself to Hagar. Because he cared for her and the nation which would come from her and Abraham’s union. Maybe in seeing this we can start to hope that maybe there is some hope for the people of Hagar. Only as they turn to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.

The second appearance of Jesus we see comes as Abraham is at his “Tent door in the heat of the day”. He sees three men approaching. Genesis 18. He runs to meet them. I get the impression that Abraham knew who they were before He jumped up and ran to them. He bowed down before them and verse 3 says,

“…My Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant.”

Abraham offers the “Men” refreshment and food. It is quite clear that one of these “Men” is the Lord Himself. Remember how the Lord reveals Himself in the Old Testament? When He is seen in a physical form, it must be the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. How would Abraham recognize God in physical form. He knows Him personally. When you know the Lord you know His appearing and appearance. You know His voice.

It was at this time that the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, and this time Sarah heard the promise made even to her. They were going to have a son in their old age (Abraham was at this time 99 years of age and Sarah was 89), and is it any wonder that Sarah laughed. Thinking, “How can this be?”, and yet, hearing the Lord speak to them with the promise. It came from the Lord Himself, in Person, and physical form.

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”(v.14).

This was a word directly from the Lord, not from angels, not in a dream, but from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus.

“The men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” (v. 16).

The “men” headed toward Sodom on a mission of judgment. The Lord decides since Abraham is His friend, that He will reveal why the others are headed toward Sodom. In this passage of the chapter we see Abraham become an intercessor pleading for the cities of the plain. He asked the Lord to spare the city if there are only 10 righteous people in it. The Lord says He will. We know that there were not 10 righteous people in the cities, but God still dragged Abraham’s nephew Lot, Lot’s wife, and two daughters from the city before they were destroyed.

The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen through out all of Scripture. We see the manifestation of Jesus in physical form even before He became flesh and dwelt among men. We see Him to be holy, righteous, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, and Unchanging. He is the God of mercy, love and grace.

Jesus in Genesis (2)

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (2)

“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10c).

Can Jesus and the gospel be found in the Old Testament? It is my declaration that He can and that the gospel is there as well.

Look in Genesis 3. This is the chapter of the fall of man and sin entering into the world. After the sin of Adam and Eve we find God’s declarations to the serpent, to Eve and last of all to Adam. Within this chapter there is a prophecy of a Savior who would come, and a type (picture, shadow) of what would take place by that Savior who would come. This is what we will look at in this post.

In God’s Word to the serpent He said (v. 15),

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”

We can see the enmity (fear, strife) between the serpent and the children of Eve. It is even present to this day. When I see a snake it causes fear in me. That is one of God’s creatures which I want absolutely nothing to do with. In my mind they are a symbol of all that is vile and wicked and evil. If you want to handle the things, you go right ahead. If it bites you you cannot blame anyone but yourself. The same thing is true of sin. When you play with sin, it will bite you, and it already has.

The seed of the woman, the one who would bruise the head of the serpent is the promised Redeemer who would come. When Eve had Cain it seems as though she expected him to be the one. There was such expectancy. It is seen in what she named him

“Cain…I have gotten a man from the Lord” (4:1).

It was not to be Cain, because he was not a man who had a heart for the things of God. This prophecy would not be fulfilled for about four thousand years. It is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. On the cross, upon which Jesus died Satan (that old serpent) “Bruised the heel” of the Seed of the woman. Upon that same cross the head of the serpent was not only “bruised” but the power of Satan was crushed, and his authority over men taken away. After the cross Jesus rose from death showing that He was indeed the Son of the living God, and God the Living Son (Romans 1:4). By that same resurrection we have the promise of eternal life.

There is also a shadow/type of the cross seen in this chapter of Genesis. In Verse 21 it says,

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

Now in the minds of some, this verse may seem very insignificant, but I do not think it will be to many who are reading this. Remember Adam and Eve had been warned by God that they would die if they ate fruit from the forbidden tree. Now they had eaten fruit from the tree, and God provided redemption for them. It was a covering for their sin. It was in the form of animal skins, and I personally believe the skins to be lamb skins. Life was taken; blood was shed. This was the first time death had come into the world, and it was God who did the killing. In this shadow of the cross there were animals put to death for the sins of these two sinners. God in his holy and righteous way provided a means of salvation which would bring salvation to the human race. To think that God in His wisdom, power, love and grace was showing us the wonderful life of Jesus Christ in providing covering for Adam and Eve. They had tried to cover themselves in fig leaves, but it was not good enough for God. The “Fig leaves” of religion, self-righteousness, good works, or ceremonial laws will never satisfy the righteousness of God. The blood or the righteous Lamb of God alone has done that.

Isn’t the love, grace and mercy of God something wonderful. It is the most wonderful knowledge that we could have. It is, in fact the most wonderful thing we could have in our lives.

Christmas Day Eighty and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

My wife and I have guests in our home today.  Our oldest grandson Jonathan, and his sister Caitlyn, and some of their friends came down to our house last night to spend the night celebrating their Birthdays which was a few days ago.  They had a party in Springfield last night, then came here to camp out in our backyard. Their mother [Charity]; our daughter; also brought a friend with her to help get all the girls here.

So what do I want for Christmas today?  I want Jonathan to keep growing in the Lord Jesus Christ, to meet a godly Christian girl – which I think he already has – and grows deeper in love with Jesus through the Word, and deeper in love with the one who will be his wife; to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love his neighbor as himself.

For Caitlyn; that she too continue to grow in her love for Jesus, and His word; to one day find the godly Christian young man of her dreams, grow more in love with Jesus, and her husband to be; and to love God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love her neighbor as herself…

…And for those who are here with them as well.

 

How This Conservative Evangelical Died…

Here is some food for thought.

brandon andress

This is the first of two posts that I have to preemptively tell you that my heart in this is motivated only in love and service to helping Christians (including me) more closely align in following the way of Jesus. I simply ask that if you are a Christian and one who struggles with anger when a person challenges your faith perspective, then maybe park this post until you can read it in a non-defensive, non-oppositional, and peaceful posture. These words are meant to begin a civil conversation and dialogue and then to guide us into deeper reflection and dependence on the Spirit of God in our lives.

Too many times, Christians read what I write (with the most recent example being about Christians and politics) and quickly retort, “Well, I disagree with your position,” or, “Well, that is just your opinion.” Others immediately dismiss what I have written and…

View original post 1,591 more words

Christmas Day 230

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the world to know that Jesus is coming soon; though we do not know when those who profess to know Jesus ought to live as though He could come right now.

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3 (KJV)

Maranatha.

Day Three Hundred and Eleven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all Christians, Presidents, Presidential candidates, Senators, Congress, Governors, Mayors, and City officials; and all people to realize the preciousness of a child, born and  unborn; to call for a stop of the murder of the unborn human child.

Jesus said,

Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.” Psalm 122:6-9 (KJV)

The word “Peace” is used three times in these four verses. Peace is a sought after thing for most people. The name “Jerusalem” means “city of peace”; and yet this city has been one of the most fought over places in all the centuries since the death of Christ.

David took Jebus from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5), and called it Jerusalem. He later would bring the tabernacle, and the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. This city is called “the city of David” (2 Samuel 5:7). There are references to the “City of God” which could be references to this city as well (Psalms 46:4; 48:1; 87:3).

David longed for the peace of Jerusalem, even to the building of the temple, and making it a place for all people to come and worship the one God of all creation and all people; a place where they could come, worship and pray;

“And He taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” Mark 11:17

We all; those who love God, Israel, and Jerusalem must pray for the peace of Jerusalem. For when there is peace in Jerusalem there will be peace in the world. That will come only when the Prince of Peace returns to reign from His rightful throne in Jerusalem. His name is Jesus the Christ Son of the Living God

With the enemies of God, and of Israel crouching around the land today; Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Jesus  will be returning soon.

Seeking His Work

“The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and His righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.” Psalm 111:2-4 (KJV)

The Psalmist magnifies the Lord, His work and His righteousness. All are great. It is GOD who makes them great. There is nothing He does that we would not see as great, working doing His will; and I should say Him working through us.

As I look at these verses I think of Jesus’s words, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29), and “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).

In the chaos of man’s sin, shame, unbelief, and wretchedness; God loved the world and sent a Saviour; His only begotten Son; to die on the cross for our sins. He died that we all might have fellowship, love, and grace with the Father. Have it for all eternity.

The compassion of the LORD is seen in that He struck His own Son in our place, and through His Son Jesus Christ we are made the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“The works of the LORD are great” and they are “sought out of all them that have pleasure therein”.

Transgressions Removed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come Before His Presence with Singing

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)

The whole Psalm is give above. Yes it is short, so I will endeavor to keep my comments short as well.

The Psalm is merely titled “A Psalm of Praise”. Many might be asking why we should praise the LORD? This Psalm gives us the answer. First of all let me tell you who is to praise the LORD. “All ye lands” that is the whole earth, and everyone on it. No exceptions. God made us for His praise and glory.

Praising Him involves serving Him with gladness, not complaint; and entering His presence with singing. The Spirit filled Christian is to be a singer (Ephesians 5:18-21), and it is honoring and glorifying to the LORD.

We ought to praise Him because it is He that has made us; He is our Creator (Genesis 1-2). It is He who has made us, and not ourselves.

We are also the “sheep of His pasture” which is a picture of how ignorant, and needy we really are. That may offend some people, but it is the truth; I am needy. The Lord is my Shepherd (Psalm 23), and with Him as my Shepherd I will not lack any good and right thing.

His “gates” are there to keep the enemy out, but let His people enter into His courts of splendor. We enter with thanksgiving, and go into His courts with praise. Thank Him for His blessings in your life. The apostle Paul said, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

A couple of more reasons for our worship of the LORD is His mercy and truth. He is constantly merciful, for all eternity. His truth never changes. As for His truth, there are some who things God ought to change with the times, the culture, and with society. God will never change, and because of that He is dependable, trustworthy, and stedfast.

The gospel message that Christ Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again has not changed either; nor has His promise to come again.

The Revealed Things

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV)

There are many things which belong to God that He has not revealed to us in His word or in any other way. We have been given the things we need to know that we may obey Him and His word.

Someone has said, “It is not the things I do not understand about the Bible that causes me problems; it is the parts I do understand.” At least something similar to that, and with that I sympathize. The parts we do understand are the ones we do not practice as we ought.

So why should we spend time trying to understand the “secret things that belong unto the LORD”, and leave undone the things we do understand? That is to our shame.

God has revealed to us His Son Jesus Christ. He [Jesus] is the fulness of God revealed to creation . Let us follow Him, walk in His footsteps and by the power of His Spirit within us be like Him in our living; in our words, our walk, our witness.

Praising GOD

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power.” Psalm 150:1 (KJV)

One thing a Christian can learn from reading the Psalms, and especially those that express “Praise ye the LORD”; is that we are to “Praise the LORD”.

It does not matter the time, the place, life’s situation or circumstances; the child of God is to praise the LORD.  Why?  Because He is worthy.  That is reason enough.

Let me have Charles H. Spurgeon give you his words concerning Psalm 150:1;

“Praise ye the Lord.” Hallelujah! The exhortation is to all things in earth or in heaven. Should they not all declare the glory of him for whose glory they are, and were created? Jehovah, the one God, should be the one object of adoration. To give the least particle of his honour to another is shameful treason; to refuse to render it to him is heartless robbery. “Praise God in his sanctuary.” Praise El, or the strong one, in his holy place. See how power is mentioned with holiness in this change of names. Praise begins at home. “In God’s own house pronounce his praise.” The holy place should be filled with praise, even as of old the high-priest filled the sanctum sanctorum with the smoke of sweet-smelling incense. In his church below and in his courts above hallelujahs should be continually presented. In the person of Jesus God finds a holy dwelling or sanctuary, and there he is greatly to be praised. He may also be said to dwell in holiness, for all his ways are right and good; for this we ought to extol him with heart and with voice. Whenever we assemble for holy purposes our main work should be to present praises unto the Lord our God. “Praise him in the firmament of his power.” It is a blessed thing that in our God holiness and power are united. Power without righteousness would be oppression, and righteousness without power would be too weak for usefulness; but put the two together in an infinite degree and we have God. What an expanse we have in the boundless firmament of divine power! Let it all be filled with praise. Let the heavens, so great and strong, echo with the praise of the thrice holy Jehovah, while the sanctuaries of earth magnify the Almighty One.
from the TREASURY OF DAVID, e-Sword edition

We ought always Praise the LORD; for He is worthy of praise, worship, and adoration.

Searched and Known

“O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me.” Psalm 139:1 (KJV)

Sometimes it is sad to realize that we are living in a world where we can be seen by people, particularly governments or government bureaus wherever we are and in whatever we do.  There are cameras at many traffic lights, that can see us as we go through intersections.  There are cameras at more and more corners on the streets.  There are satellites that can zoom in on us and see our license plates on our automobiles.

In some ways that troubles me.  In other ways it does not.  I have been watched all my life; and even before I was born, and yet in my mothers womb, I was seen and known.  So it is with each of us.

The LORD has had His eye on us from conception, and keeps them there to the grave.  He searches, He examines every motive, every action that we make, and He knows our hearts, and why we do what we do.  He is Omniscient or All-Knowing, and He knows you, even better than you know yourself.

There is nothing about you or myself that is a secret to Him.  Nothing about our lives surprises GOD.

He knows your need for Him; for salvation from your sin and its condemnation.  He has provided that through sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins, He was buried, and He rose bodily from the grave.  One day He is returning.  Be ready for that by trusting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour today.

He Dwells in the Heavens

“Unto Thee lift I up mine eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens.” Psalm 123:1 (KJV)

To the child of God who reads this verse it should be quite obvious who the subject is.  He dwells in the heavens.  There is only one.

It is to Him that the child directs his/her gaze.  It is to Him that the child of God places their trust, and receives comfort, peace, rest, and salvation.

Yes, the Holy One dwells in the heavens, and He also dwells in the hearts of His children.

Make sure today that He not only dwells in the heavens, but that He also dwells within your heart; and that He shows through.

For the LORD is Good

“O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 107:1 (KJV)

I pray that all who are reading this today is planning, is already on their way, or will be attending worship services in a local Church today.  That is one way Christians show their love and thanks to the LORD who alone is worthy of our worship, praise, and thanksgiving.

The LORD is good.  He is great.  He is merciful.

There is no way the follower of Jesus Christ can ever grow short of thanking the LORD.  You may be overcome by debt, fear of losing all you have.  You may be overcome by an illness or disease and fear losing your life, or the life of a loved one.  When you are in Christ Jesus we can still thank the LORD for His goodness and mercy.  There is always something to be thankful for. So thank Him.

YHWH is always merciful.  His mercy endures forever.  When we realize His great mercy, we can then rest in His grace; which has been demonstrated to us by the death of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good…”

A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto Thee.” Psalm 102:1 (KJV)

The title of this post is the title of the Psalm.

Have you ever prayed the above prayer?  I have.  I am fairly certain that many Christians have prayed it, and not just one time.

In times of affliction.  In times of sorrow.  In times of need.  In times when we feel as though God may not be listening our cry goes out “Hear my prayer, O LORD…”

If you are feeling afflicted today, overwhelmed, rejected, neglected, then pour out your prayer, your complaint to the One who alone can hear and answer your prayer and  your need.

Remember that God loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Confidence and/or Confusion

“In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.” Psalm 71:1 (KJV)

The LORD is the place for our trust.  We far too often place our trust, our confidence in our own abilities.  We are blessed, and we are a blessing unto the Lord Jehovah when we affirm with our words of prayer and praise that our trust is in Him.  That is what the Psalmist is affirming here.

Will I daily; and will you daily affirm with me that our trust is in the LORD?  I pray that you will, and speak it loudly to Him, and show it loudly to Him and the rest of the world as well.

If we will not walk with Him, putting our trust, our confidence in Him and His Word then we will be put to confusion.  Confusion is not of God.  The apostle Paul has written,

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33

When a professing Christian is not putting their trust in God, but walking after their own lust, and passions they will be confused, there will be confusion in the world concerning what Christianity is; and it is quite obvious we have that today.  Trusting the LORD means believing His word, and living according to what He says, not what the rest of the world is living and saying.

Have confidence in the LORD and His Word; and you will not be confused.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I thank God for all who have visited this blog.  To think this is visited by people from 93 countries.  My prayer is that all who visit here know my Lord and  Saviour Jesus Christ.

What We Have Forgotten

The prophet Jeremiah’s heart is grieving for his people as he views their lives through the eyes of the LORD. They don’t and won’t. At least for some time to come. The generation the prophet is addressing is one who has refused to see and hear the Word of the LORD.

The LORD asked a question, “Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of darkness?” There is a contrast the LORD desires them to see. Have I been barren and left you with nothing or has My witness to you been that of darkness and not light?

Hear the Word through the prophet:

“O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, a land of darkness? Wherefore say My people, ‘We are lords; we will come no more unto Thee’?  Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.” Jeremiah 2:31-32 (KJV)

The people had become self dependent rather than depending upon the LORD God. Some people have said and believe that faith is a crutch, or that God Himself is a crutch. Some have said things like, “Only the weak need God.” I need God, and I can only have God in my life as God gives Himself to me through His Son Jesus Christ. Am I weak? You better believe it. When it comes to the things of God; when it comes to pleasing God; when it comes to getting into the very presence of God; when it comes to having a relationship with God, and fellowship with Him; yes! I am weak. None of those things can be mine on my own. They are given to me as a gift of God.

You may be your own lord, but you do not know God; nor can you as long as you have that attitude and heart. If God wants you He will have you. You will submit to Him and He will have His own way in your heart and life.

The virgins of Jeremiah’s day wore special ornaments, which was a reminder of their virginity, and their purity. Brides, as always, seem to greatly admire their wedding gown, and may even become quite prideful in that attire. There is something quite beautiful about a bride in her gown, coming down the aisle, and it causes the groom to take a deep breath, and gasp at her beauty. “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?”, seems to indicate that these had more care for their ornaments and their gowns, than they had for the Word of the LORD. They had not forgotten their ornaments, nor their beautiful clothing, and gowns, but they had “Forgotten” the LORD; “Days without number”.

I can see this as very similar to our own day of 2013 in the United States of America.  Many pride themselves as “Christian” yet live as though the filling of lustful desires are what this life is about.  It is time that the Church in the U. S. of A. repented of her sins, and returned our focus to the One who bled and died for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; and He lives forever more.

Christian, may we never forget the price that Jesus paid for our salvation. May we always be reminded of the body and the blood of Jesus; broken and shed that we might know God. The only true and righteous One who loves us, and gave Himself for us.

For those of you who have not believed, and trusted the finished work of the cross of Christ; the day is drawing near when He will return.  Then  you will see Him as He is.  You will stand before His great white throne of judgment and be found guilty.  Why allow that to happen when He has already paid your sin debt.  He offers it to you as a free gift of grace.  Repent and believe.

He is coming again. How will He find us?

-by 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

Who May Abide the Day of His Coming?

The following is the morning reading from “Morning and Evening” by Charles H. Spurgeon.  Let him who has ears to hear, hear.

Malachi 3:2
But who may abide the day of his coming?

His first coming was without external pomp or show of power, and yet in truth there were few who could abide its testing might. Herod and all Jerusalem with him were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be waiting for Him, showed the fallacy of their professions by rejecting Him when He came. His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process. But what will His second advent be? What sinner can endure to think of it? “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” When in His humiliation He did but say to the soldiers, “I am He,” they fell backward; what will be the terror of His enemies when He shall more fully reveal Himself as the “I AM?” His death shook earth and darkened heaven, what shall be the dreadful splendour of that day in which as the living Saviour, He shall summon the quick and dead before Him? O that the terrors of the Lord would persuade men to forsake their sins and kiss the Son lest He be angry! Though a lamb, He is yet the lion of the tribe of Judah, rending the prey in pieces; and though He breaks not the bruised reed, yet will He break His enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. None of His foes shall bear up before the tempest of His wrath, or hide themselves from the sweeping hail of His indignation; but His beloved bloodwashed people look for His appearing with joy, and hope to abide it without fear: to them He sits as a refiner even now, and when He has tried them they shall come forth as gold. Let us search ourselves this morning and make our calling and election sure, so that the coming of the Lord may cause no dark forebodings in our mind. O for grace to cast away all hypocrisy, and to be found of Him sincere and without rebuke in the day of His appearing.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Spurgeon – Go Again Seven Times

The following is the evening devotion by Charles H. Spurgeon from Morning and Evening for September 28.

1 Kings 18:43
Go again seven times.

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are earnest in a matter which concerns His glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah’s courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but “Go again.” We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel’s brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.

Let’s avail in prayer.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm 71:1

The following is a quote from a study on Psalm 71 and verse 1 from The Treasury of David, by C. H. Spurgeon.  The quote is by Musculus.

“In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.”  Psalm 71:1 (KJV)

“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust.” As if he should say: O Lord, permit not those who put their trust in thee to be confounded, and to be held up as a laughing-stock. I have placed all my hope in thee, and thou art that God who, for the sake of thy goodness and truth, hast never deserted those who hope in thee. If thou shalt suffer me to be confounded, the enemies to triumph, and my hope to be placed in thee in vain, certainly this shame shall fall upon thine own name … Let us, therefore, learn from this place to be more anxious about what may happen to the name of God through us, than to our own; whether it be through us in doing, or in us in suffering. The prophet is fearful lest he should be confounded on account of his hope placed in God, although it was not in his own power, nor could he prevent it…
It is necessary, first, that we should be of those who place their hope in God, then it is necessary that this piety of our hearts should not be confined to ourselves only, but should be known to all those who come in contact with us, even our opponents and enemies; else it is not possible for us to dread this kind of confusion feared by the prophet, when nobody knows that our hope is placed in God. No artist suffers confusion, if he has never shared the good opinion of his fellow men. To no sick man can it be said, Physician, heal thyself, if his reputation for medical skill has never stood high. So of those, it cannot be said, They hoped in God, let him save them if he will have them, of whom it was never remarked that they placed any hope in God. This solicitude, therefore, belongs only to those whose hope is in the Lord: upon others it cannot fall. – Musculus.

Trust that endures and provides is only in the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Truth: Creation

The following is a quote from Dr. Al Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

The denial of a historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the Gospel.
If we do not know how the story of the Gospel begins, then we do not know what that story means. Make no mistake: a false start to the story produces a false grasp of the Gospel.

You may read the articles by clicking here and here.

The whole of the Bible is at stake, if the first nine chapters of Genesis are not historically true.  Then, the message of sin, and the good news of the gospel of Christ and His cross would not be needed.

The Bible, including the first nine chapters of Genesis are literally true, the gospel is the good news needed for the world, and Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

-Tim A. Blankenship

B F & M – The Christian and the Social Order

For the most part down through the history of Baptists we have been economically poor people.  That is not to say that we have not had well to do people in our churches.  We have been a hard working, devoted class of people, who would give to anyone in need.

In some cases, and maybe in many ways we still are.  Our National and State Conventions offer aid to victims of storms accross our Nation.  When our Nation was attacked on September 11, 2001; and there was cleanup work to be done of nearby appartments we had cleanup crews cleaning, at no charge, to the residents of those appartments in order for them to return to a somewhat normal life.  We also had crews feeding people, at the same time.

I heard the other day that the Southern Baptist Convention had the third largest Crisis Team in the United States with the Red Cross being number one, Salvation Army second.  Why do it?  Because we are caring people who care for other people.  Most of all, because we love Jesus Christ and want others to know our Savior.

Baptists people are also people who see problems in the society we live in and are quick to point out the dangers we see.  Things involving immorality; such as all forms of sexual sins, and things which cause harm to our families.

Here is our Statement of Faith:

“XV. The Christian and the Social Order

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.”

As you can see by our Statement of Faith we are a people who cherish life.  We believe that life begins at conception.  I insert here that, if life is not sacred before the child is born, then, he/she will not be sacred after she/he is born.  God gives life and only He has the right to take life away, and sometimes that is done through human government, by way of capital punishment; for capital offenses.

In Micah 6:8 the God inspired prophet wrote, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of  you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”  That is the belief of faithful, committed Baptists.  That should be the attitude of all Christians.

-T.A.

B F & M – Stewardship

Many people, and even some Baptists flinch at the word “Stewardship”.  A pastor stands behind the pulpit, and proclaims his subject as “Stewardship”, and the first thing that goes through many minds is, “Here comes a sermon on giving our money”.

Stewardship involves much more than money.  It entails the care of what has been given us for use.  I have lived in a rented house.  I am a steward of this house.  We now live in a house of our own [and the mortgage companies], along with a few acres of land.  It is the place God has provided my wife and I to live.  We have a 2000 and 2001 model Mercury Grand Marquis automobiles.  They too, were given us by God, to care for and maintain, and to keep in as good of care as we possibly can.  We are stewards of these things.

We are also all stewards of this planet called earth which we live on.  We are to give of our tithes and offerings.  Our Statement of Faith does not mention “Titheing” per se, but rather, “…binding stewardship in their possessions”.  We should count titheing as a privilege.  One hundred percent of our income is God’s, and all we are asked to return to acknowledge God’s ownership is 10% of it.  Gifts and offerings come above this.

Here is our Statement of Faith on the matter of Stewardship:

“XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.”

The tithe shows our recognition of God’s ownership.  There are many who want to tell us that the tithe is an Old Testament principle.  Jesus has taught it in the New.  Jesus tells us:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  Matthew 23:23 (KJV).

If you noticed He commends the tithe, but is condemning them for not practicing other matters of the law.  If Christians, and Baptists in particular would tithe to their local congregation, there is no church in the USA which would be hurting financially with the wise use of their resources, and missions and evangelism would be supported more effectively as well.

Be careful to take good care of the resources God has blessed you with.  Practice judgment, mercy, and faith, and take care of what God has blessed you with materially; and recognize God’s ownership of your income.

-T.A.

B F & M – GOD

There are many beliefs about “God”, and some could and would say, ‘gods’, but there is only one God.  The one God is the LORD.  He is the Creator of all that exists.  There is nothing that exists which He did not create.  He created all things, even that which He made in His own image, and after His likeness; for His own glory.

The Baptist Faith & Message statement:

“II. God

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

A. God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.”

This statement of faith is just that, and it gives we Baptists a means of cooperating together.  Most Christians can agree with the statement given above, no matter what their denomination is.

In Genesis 1:1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (NKJV).  The name “God” given here is in Hebrew ‘Elohim’ a plural name for our Creator, and tells us that He is One yet has a plural personality.  Most Christians believe that is made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  That is where we stand as Baptists.  He is God.  We can actually see the Persons at work in the creation.  “God said”, that is His Word going forth to create, ie., the Living Word; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1.  Then, we see the Spirit, “Hovering over the face of the waters” Genesis 1:2.

In the New Testament there are at least two instances we see the trinity manifested, one of which is at the baptism of Jesus.

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17 (NKJV).

This clearly shows the presence of the Father, the One who spoke from heaven; we see the Spirit who descended in the form of the dove; and the Son is the One who was just baptized.  This is not only a Baptist teaching, but clearly a Biblical teaching.  We are a Biblical people.  Let’s continue to stand on the Biblical principles and teachings.

-T.A.

Originally posted at All Things Baptist (June ’07)

Woes of Trust

Trusting is a necessary in many places of life.  It is necessary that husbands and wives trust one another fully.  It is necessary that friends trust one another.  It is necessary that business partners trust one another.  In these relationships, if there is little or no trust the relationship will not last long.

Trusting takes a willingness to be the one who takes the loss, should it come to that.  Take a loss without revenge, or getting even.  Trust means being the one who endeavors to right the wrongs, or absorb the wrong in behalf of the other.  This trust of which I presently speak, of course, is of human relationships.  When it comes to trusting the Divine One; our GOD, and Lord, then that trust is completely without risk, in faith.

The people of Judah were trusting in Egypt, yet failing to trust the LORD.  That is Isaiah’s message to the people when he writes to them –

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”  Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)

When it comes to the humanity of us we are pretty quick to trust in what we can see.  For instance, if we see a company or an individual who is successful in making wealth, we will almost automatically trust that individual or company to give us good advice, and sometimes even trust them with our wealth.  We judge pragmatically thinking, “If it has worked for them, then, no doubt it will work for me.”  We can end up being “burned”, “Scalped”, and left holding an “empty bag”.

Human reason often leaves GOD out of the matter of safety, economy, politics, personal wealth,  health, etc.  We think “That is not anything I need to concern God about”, or “I can handle this matter myself”.  So thought Israel, and they were trusting Egypt to come to their aid against Babylon, and they were defeated.

It will bring peril for an individual to place their trust in human advice alone; without seeking the LORD’s leadership.  We can go to a financial adviser/counsellor to get advice on a financial matter; however, if this adviser gives shady advice then we better have the counsel of the LORD on the matter; or we will find ourselves in the proverbial “hot water”.   Then, where will that adviser be.

Israel was about to be let down by trusting in the defenses of Egypt and her great army; because they did not have the heart and mind of GOD.

Having safety and security is not dependent upon any human government.  Our economic prosperity is not dependent upon the Congress, the Senate, or the President of the USA.  Our dependence for safety, economic blessing, protection from enemy attack comes only from our LORD, and that only when His people trust solely upon Him.

Woe to them that go to China for help, who trust in their own military might, or the power of the congress, senate and/or President, and power of the dollar; because they are strong; but they look not unto the Holy One…, neither seek the LORD!

Let’s call unto the Lord God, humble ourselves before Him, repent of our sins, turn from our wicked ways, and trust Him to forgive our sins, and heal our land, then we will be renewed and strengthened, and healed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Friday Baptist 071511

The following are the closing paragraphs of a message by W. A. Criswell titled “The Ableness of God” from Ephesians 3:14-21 from October 25, 1970.

The ableness of God; we never exhaust it.  It’s never beyond what He can do for us—above all we ask or think.  Lord, who would ever have thought the little shepherd boy David would be the king of Israel?  Who would ever have thought Amos the sycamore gatherer would be God’s first great writing prophet?  Who would ever have thought Cephas, the fisherman of such a volatile spirit, would have been Peter at Pentecost?  Who would ever have thought that Saul of Tarsus, persecuting the church, would have been the apostle who kneels down here in prayer.  Who would ever have thought it? Oh, the whole gamut of God’s world is like that.  Who would ever have thought these prison doors open of themselves in the twelfth chapter of Acts?  Who would ever have thought the lions’ mouths would have been stopped or the three would have been delivered out of the fiery furnace?

“Above all that we ask for;” be encouraged, my brethren.  Let’s lift up our spirits and our hearts.  Let’s roll up our sleeves.  Let’s ask God for great things for Jesus.  Let’s ask Him for these families, these homes, these children; these teenagers; these young marrieds.  Let’s ask Him. Let’s ask in faith that God’ll give us their souls, their lives, their children, and then, having found answered prayer, let’s teach them the Word of God.  Let’s just place in their very souls the riches of that glorious revelation. Let’s just spend our days around here praising Jesus, loving God.  I’ve got to quit.  Man, we could just love the Lord forever, couldn’t we?  Just talking about what God can do for us and how we’re going to, in His love and grace, attempt great things for Him.

W. A. Criswell, 1970

-posted by T.A.

Death Grip

Anyone who thinks or believes that living the Christian life is “easy” has not begun to live the Christian life.  Several years ago, I was preaching in a Baptist Church [my conviction] on the difficulties of living the Christian life.  I had a woman who came to me afterwards and said, “I don’t find living the Christian life difficult.”  Now, I don’t know if she quite got a grasp of what I was saying, or if she did not know what the Christian life was about; but living it is difficult; even when we have the Spirit of God living within.

Death Grip is what sin has on those who are human.  The sad part of that is; that even when someone trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we still have a battle with sin’s death grip.  Every Christian struggles with sin.  We will continue to struggle with it until this body, this shell of flesh we live in takes its last breath, and the heart beats its last beat.

That is why as a Christian we are admonished by the Word of God to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11).  The promise of the Word is that we are no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6:16-17), as long as long as we “have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you”.  That doctrine, of course, is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Yet, we struggle against sin.  Yes!  Christians still commit sin.  Not because we love it, but because of the death grip of sin.  The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope…” Isaiah 5:18.  Most of our struggle with sin is due to our own weakness to resist it.  We have the power to resist temptation because of the work of Jesus Christ and His “earnest payment” left us; the Holy Spirit.  Yet we are in that death grip.

Back during the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, AZ.  Dr. Al Mohler upset a lot of our folks by some comments he made using words, such as “Homophobic” and “Choice”.  It was falsely reported by one news agency that the SBC had recanted and changed its view of homosexuality; NOT SO.

Dr. Mohler believes as I do that homosexuality is sin.  Just as adultery is sin, murder is sin, stealing is sin, lust is sin, murderous thinking is sin, disobedience to God and His Word is sin.  Homosexuality, in scripture is called an abomination.

When an individual comes to faith in Christ we are not perfect, but we enter a state of growth where we are growing more into the image of Christ.  That, though, will not be perfected until we see Jesus face to face.

Sin’s Death Grip is like Isaiah’s iniquity, and cart rope; we still drag that sinful flesh along with us.  It is a burden, a drag, yet we desire to be free from it; and one day we will.  Until then, let us put off the works of the flesh, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we fall, let us take the hand of our Savior, arise forgiven, cleansed, and continue on the journey.

There is forgiveness for all who will call on the name of Jesus Christ in faith.  Christian remember this, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Baptist Friday 070811

The following is yesterday’s e-devotional from Turning Point by Dr. David Jeremiah.

Friends for the Journey

Two are better than one…. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion….
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Recommended Reading
Romans 15: 4-7

In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian is blessed with two friends for his journey to the Celestial City: Faithful and Hopeful. At one point in the story, Christian and Hopeful are captured by Giant Despair and locked away in Doubting Castle. The symbolic names give wise counsel. Faith and hope are key companions when we encounter the twin destroyers of doubt and despair–especially in these desperate days of economic catastrophes and natural disasters.

Bunyan’s allegory of the believer’s struggle through life toward heaven poignantly illustrates the difficult journey we face. But the indispensable lesson of faith and hope through Pilgrim’s traveling companions reminds believers of another important truth: We need friends along life’s path to pick us up when we fall, encouraging us to keep on keeping on.

No burden is too great to carry with the heavenly promise of our Lord (John 14:1-2) and encouraging friends who help turn our despair into joy and doubt into a stronger faith and hope. Look around your path today. There is probably someone not too far from you who needs your encouragement.

‘A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.’
Arnold Glasow

-posted by T.A.

Quiet from the Fear of Evil

The following is from Morning and Evening a daily devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon.  I found this very encouraging and thought it might be for someone else as well.

Morning …

Proverbs 1:33
Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Divine love is rendered conspicuous when it  shines in the midst of judgments. Fair is that lone star which smiles through the rifts of the thunder clouds; bright is the oasis which blooms in the wilderness of sand; so fair and so bright is love in the midst of wrath. When the Israelites provoked the Most High by their continued idolatry, He punished them by withholding both dew and rain, so that their land was visited by a sore famine; but while He did this, He took care that His own chosen ones should be secure. If all other brooks are dry, yet shall there be one reserved for Elijah; and when that fails, God shall still preserve for him a place of sustenance; nay, not only so, the Lord had not simply one “Elijah,” but He had a remnant according to the election of grace, who were hidden by fifties in a cave, and though the whole land was subject to famine, yet these fifties in the cave were fed, and fed from Ahab’s table too by His faithful, God-fearing steward, Obadiah. Let us from this draw the inference, that come what may, God’s people are safe. Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be rent in twain, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God cannot save His people under heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety. Be ye then confident, when ye hear of wars, and rumours of wars. Let no agitation distress you, but be quiet from fear of evil. Whatsoever cometh upon the earth, you, beneath the broad wings of Jehovah, shall be secure. Stay yourself upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and bid defiance to the blackest future, for there is nothing in it direful for you. Your sole concern should be to show forth to the world the blessedness of hearkening to the voice of wisdom.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Where There is Liberty

Where There is Liberty

2 Corinthians 3:17

References – Gal. 2:4; 5:1, 13;  John 8:32;  James 1:25;  Isaiah 61:2;

1.  The Spirit blinds eyes of rebellion (3:14-15).
2.  The Spirit is the veil that hides the fading glory of the Old covenant (3:13, 15)
3.  The Spirit is the means of the liberty of the soul (3:16).

I.  THERE IS LIBERTY, FREEDOM, IN CHRIST THROUGH THE SPIRIT.

II.  THERE IS LIBERTY FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN AND DEATH.

III.  THERE IS LIBERTY FROM THE CONDEMNATION OF THE LAW (Gal. 2:4).

IV.   THERE IS LIBERTY WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS (Gal. 5:1).

V.  WHERE THERE IS LIBERTY THERE IS RESPONSIBILITY (Gal. 5:13).

Summary –
i.  True freedom comes only in yeilding one’s life to Jesus Christ as Master and Lord.
ii.  True freedom liberates from sin’s bondage and death.
iii.  There is liberty in the faith of Jesus Christ.
iv.  True freedom gives liberty to make clear, godly, righteous decisions.

-T.A.

Sunday morning sermon points preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church July 03, 2011.

The Scarlet Thread – Manna

When looking at the series of “The Scarlet Thread” my intention in doing this is to show Jesus Christ.  As we look at the manna – “What is it?” – is the actual meaning of the word.  We must remember Jesus’s words, “I am the Bread of Life.” (John 6:32-35).

Manna was a special bread provide miraculously by GOD for the children of Israel to gather each morning for each day.  It could only be gathered for six days, and enough could be gathered on the six day for the seventh day.  It was given in Exodus 16:14-15.  There is more scripture dealing with it in verses 16 -36.  For the verses we will look at in the book of Numbers I want us to remember Exodus 16:31,

“And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

Remembering the taste of it was as “Honey”, or “wafers made with honey”, so it had the taste of sweetness in it.

We read in Numbers 11:8,

“And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.”

Then, they go around murmuring that “There is nothing at all, beside this manna”.  Well!  Is it any wonder?  They have taken a perfect substance, made by the hand of God, miraculously provided, a daily provision; and they try to “Improve” it.

According to Jesus in John 6 He Himself is the Bread of Life.  It is not an overstatement for me to say that there is much people today trying to “Improve” on Jesus.  When people are bored with worship of Jesus preachers try to improve it by adding to the Word of God, adding entertainment to draw a crowd, adding worldly music with spiritual words, and that don’t always include the cross of Christ.  All just so they can have a crowd.  They lose their love for Jesus.

When we look at Jesus and think of Him, worship Him, adore Him; what more could we need?  What more could we want?  We are to desire to be like Him.  How can we be like Him.  He desired to do the Father’s will (Luke 2: 49; John 8:29).  We are to live for Him, just as the Scriptures proclaim; nothing of the flesh.

We are not called to draw a crowd.  We are called to be a witness.  We are called to bear the image of Christ.

The manna is the Bread of Heaven who is Christ.  Follow Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Are We Better Than They?

Are We Better Than They?

Romans 3:9

1.  The accusation to be answered – “Do evil that good may come”.
2.  Is the Jew better than the Gentile?
3.  Jew and Gentile are on the same level.
4.  All are under sin.

I.  THERE IS AN ACCUSATION FROM OTHERS THAT CHRISTIANS THINK THEMSELVES BETTER THAN THE NON-CHRISTIAN.

II.  THE CHRISTIAN IS NOT BETTER, BUT IS BETTER OFF CONCERNING ETERNITY, AND ETERNAL MATTERS.

III.  THE WAGES OF SIN IS UPON ALL WHO ARE SEPARATE FROM THE LORD.

Summary –

i.  The sin of mankind is universal and requires a universal Savior – Jesus.
ii.  By faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, burial and resurrection we are delivered from the wages and penalty of sin, and assured eternal life with Him.
iii. Rejecting Jesus Christ one chooses to remain separate from God and universally sin bound for all eternity.

-T.A.

Sunday morning sermon points preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church June 26, 2011.

Friday Baptist 062411

Today’s Baptist is Charles H. Spurgeon.  This writing is from his devotional “Morning and Evening”, the morning of June 24 –

Luke 11:27, 28:
A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

It is fondly imagined by some that it must have involved very special privileges to have been the mother of our Lord, because they supposed that she had the benefit of looking into His very heart in a way in which we cannot hope to do. There may be an appearance of plausibility in the supposition, but not much. We do not know that Mary knew more than others; what she did know she did well to lay up in her heart; but she does not appear from anything we read in the Evangelists to have been a better-instructed believer than any other of Christ’s disciples. All that she knew we also may discover. Do you wonder that we should say so? Here is a text to prove it: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Remember the Master’s words-“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” So blessedly does this Divine Revealer of secrets tell us His heart, that He keepeth back nothing which is profitable to us; His own assurance is, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Doth He not this day manifest Himself unto us as He doth not unto the world? It is even so; and therefore we will not ignorantly cry out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee,” but we will intelligently bless God that, having heard the Word and kept it, we have first of all as true a communion with the Saviour as the Virgin had, and in the second place as true an acquaintance with the secrets of His heart as she can be supposed to have obtained. Happy soul to be thus privileged!

-posted by T.A.

Going Beyond

We hear much about love.  Love for your wife, or your husband.  Love for your child or children.  Love for a friend.  What is meant by the word “L.O.V.E.”?  Real love goes beyond the ordinary.  That kind of love is more than feeling; it is a decision.  It is not driven by being loved by an individual; it is driven by the love of God, and it is displayed by a decisive act of mercy, grace and goodness; even toward one who has wronged you.  Maybe I could or should say, “…especially toward one who has wronged you”.

Well no one can do that you might say.  God and His Word teaches us to do just that thing.  Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Since you have purified yours souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…”  1 Peter 1:22 (NKJV).

This verse is directed toward loving the brethren, ie., our brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is a “Going Beyond” type of love.  We are to love when we are not loved by others.  We are to love when it may not be convenient to do so.  This is not just a speaking of words but an act of love.

This is the kind of love that responds to a command – the command to love.  It is the kind of love which will take you to a neighbors yard to mow it when they need help, even though this neighbor has caused you many heartaches, and much grief.  All Christians have this “Going Beyond” love.

It comes from a purified soul.  You receive a purified soul by “obeying the truth through the Spirit” of God.  This “Going Beyond” love is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, and His bodily resurrection.  This kind of love meets others at their point of need.  This is the love of Jesus Christ.

-T.A.