Day 38 – Thoughts from Psalms; Help

Have you ever cried out for “Help”?  You found yourself in a very needy situation, fear was creeping in, and you find yourself overwhelmed by the moment?  I have no shame or fear in admitting that I have.  I am a very needy individual; and when I realize I need help I will call out for help; especially to my God and Savior.

As I was reading Psalms 38 – 51 this morning that is one word that seemed to leap of the page at me.  H-E-L-P!  There are only seven uses of the word “help” in these 14 chapters, and they all have to do with God being our help or the psalmist crying out to Him for help.

I found myself at the age of 17; having just graduated from High School; on a trip to Florida with a friend and two other boys; swimming in the huge Atlantic Ocean just South of Jacksonville.  None of us had ever been in the Ocean; I had never even seen it until that day.  We put on our swim shorts, and we ran right in until we had to swim, and we swam, and swam, and swam, and swam; out away from the beach.  When we tired we turned to look back.  I had never been so far from land, as I was at that moment; and fear set in.  I knew better than to panic, but I began to swim back to shore; or so I thought.  All four of us were in trouble, and we were separated by short distances, and a whole lot of water.

I began to wear out physically, would stop, tread water to rest a bit, then swim some more.  In my heart I knew at that moment my only help was in God; and I cried out to Him.  The other boys were in as big a mess as I was, and they needed help too.  I knew there would be no help coming from them.  They needed help too.  God did help me that day, and the other three boys.  We all made it back to shore and home.  Thanks to the good LORD who made the land and the seas, the stars, the planets, and everything there is.

The psalmist knows that his only help is in the LORD, and he cries out,

“Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.” Psalm 38:22 (KJV)

He knows that he is ready to fall, and that he cannot make it unless the LORD intervenes, give him strength, and “help”, and he even admits his iniquity and sin.  He cries out for the Lord to help him quickly.  And he acknowledges the Lord as his salvation.  We are all in need of His salvation.

“Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.” Psalm 40:13

In this verse the psalmist asks that the LORD “Be pleased” even in delivering him; and again asks that the LORD act quickly to help him.

“But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.” Psalm 40:17

This  Psalm is attributed to David.  We would not think of David as being “poor and needy”, but that is how he identifies himself.  No matter what our lot in life; our health, our finances, our investments, or lack thereof; our whole life situation; we are all “poor and needy”.  If you fail to admit that you will never fully give yourself to the LORD of all.  Again the psalmist asks the LORD to act quickly “Make no tarrying, O my God”.  We often see our need as immediate; do we not.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42:5

“Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies’ sake.” Psalm 44:26

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” Psalm 46:5

I will not write any further comments on the remaining verses in the reading this morning.  I do post them for your perusal and encouragement.

The Lord has given His help to all who will call on His name.  The name that we need to call on is the person of His Son Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried carrying all the guilt and condemnation of sin away, and His bodily resurrection which justifies us forever.  Now that is the help we all need today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 9 – The Way to Go

In our readings of Leviticus, and now into Numbers we find much law; and there; probably by some people’s accounting; is little grace.  However, I find that assessment of “little grace” hard to accept.  It is, afterall, by God’s grace that He gave us Law.

I have a couple of sets of verses we will look at today.  The first is when Moses enters into the Tabernacle;

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with Him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and He spake unto him.”  Numbers 7:89 (KJV)

With the building of the Tabernacle finished and set up after the direction of the LORD; Moses enters into the finished work, to hear from the Creator/Architect.  To hear the voice of the one who is Lord of all is the desire of every child of God.  Most of the time it has been the LORD who is speaking; and that is as it should be.

Far too often we want to speak, even to God; and He approved of us speaking to Him; however, it is first necessary that we listen to and hear Him.  It is His heart we need when we come to Him.  It is He who gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4); we find those desires by knowing Him, His heart, and hearing His Word.

How do we know when it is time to do something?  Say, to move from where we live, to move out of what has become called our “Comfort zone”, and into a place less comfortable, or more threatening?  We often leave it to circumstances, our feelings, or outside or inside pressure (Outside  pressure being from the people around us).  When did the children of Israel know when to pack up and leave where they were?

“And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.   Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.  At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.”  Numbers 9:21-23

By the cloud, and pillar of fire by night.  For the Christian that cloud is the Spirit of God within.  All of those things mentioned – circumstances, pressure, threatenings all play a part if we are hearing the voice of God.  Many times it might not have to be those threatenings or fearful things; if we would but hear God and go the way the Spirit of God leads.

Far too many times we try and jump ahead of God; when what He is wanting is for us to stay, grow, and prosper in Him.

When God moves we should move.  When He stops we should stop.  If we are not seeing God work, then that is God’s invitation to stop and take an assessment of our lives.  We do not force God to move, nor should we move without God’s move.  So many do, and end up discouraged, in doubt and darkness.

The way to go is the way of God through His Son Jesus Christ.  The Spirit of God in you is Christ in you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm of the Creator

Psalm of the Creator

Psalm 104:1-35 (1-23)

Colossians 1:16;  John 1:1-3

I.  THE CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH (vv. 1-9; Genesis 1:1-8).

II.  THE CREATOR MEETS THE NEEDS OF HIS CREATURES (vv. 10-18; Genesis 1:11-13).

III.  THE CREATOR PROVIDES THE LIGHTS OF NIGHT AND DAY (vv. 19-23; Genesis 1:14-19).

part 2 –

Psalm of the Creator

Psalm 104:1-35 (24-35);  Genesis 1: 20-31

IV. THE CREATOR MADE THE SEA AND OCEANS OF THE WORLD (vv. 24-26; Genesis 1:20-23).

V.  THE CREATOR CARES FOR HIS CREATION (vv. 27-30;  Genesis 1:24-31).

VI.  PRAISE AND BENEDICTION TO OUR CREATOR (vv. 31-35; Revelation 21:22)

-T.A.

These are sermon points from the sermons preached at Carr Lane Baptist Church on Sunday August 28, 2011.

B F & M – Man

The estate of man is often questioned and discussed.  When it comes to knowing the truth of the matter concerning humankind, there is only one reliable source of information and that is God’s Word – the Bible.  Below you will see the Baptist Faith and Message statement concerning Man:

“III. Man

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.”

Originally, man was created in the state of innocence, with no sin.  God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and made him a living soul.

In our Statement of Faith (BF& M) we say, “endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice”.  Adam, the first man, used that freedom, sinned against God, thus condemning the whole human race – his children, grandchildren; all who would come from his seed.

Man is a totally depraved race.  Without God’s grace we are a condemned race.

-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)

The Power Of The Ten Commandments

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:   And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:   And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.”  Mark 12:28-34 (KJV)

THE POWER OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Jesus is asked by a scribe, “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus’ answer is one which shortens the whole of the Ten Commandments into two short commands. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”. I have done a study of the Ten Commandments and find some very amazing thoughts of the first four commandments God gave us. The first four Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship with God. In the first Commandment the “Heart” can have no other gods – there can be only one. In the second, the “Soul” of man cannot unite with other god’s by building an image – we are made in God’s image, not He in ours – thus the soul must be knit only to God. The third, the “Mind” of man must not think thoughts that make the mouth say vain things of God, or curse His name. In the fourth, we need “Strength” so God commanded a day of rest and so that we could devote one whole day for worshipping Him and renewing our physical and spiritual “Strength”. Just as a means of summing up these matters, we must come to the conclusion that there is no place in man’s heart and life for any other god, but the God who created all things, seen and unseen.

On the matter of the second commandment which Jesus gave, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…” we see that the final six of the Ten Commandments have to do with mankind’s relationship to his/her fellowman. From one’s mother and father, marital faithfulness, preciousness of life, sacred ownership, speaking of others, and the possessions and being of your neighbor.

The scribe acknowledges that there is no greater law than these; to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength is better than “whole burnt offerings and sacrifices”. This man was a wise man, and even Jesus tells him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God”. Not by keeping commandments is one saved, but in knowing and loving God, and only God can give that to us.

For a list of other studies on the Ten Commandments you may follow this list.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Scarlet Thread – Cain and Abel

Throughout the Bible is a Scarlet Thread of Redemption.  A picture which the Creator has brushed onto the canvass of the ages through the pages of Scripture; to give us His promise of salvation; redemption from our sins.  These pictures are painted through true, historical events of people’s lives who have lived, breathed, sinned and died (All have sinned and come short of the glory of God… (Romans 3:23)); with the exception of the One of whom these pictures are only types of the anti-type.  We write, of course, of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God; who was born, lived, died, was buried, and rose again to life; and one day has promised to come again.

Think today of the picture of Cain the eldest son of Adam and Eve; and their younger son Abel.  The Scripture tells us;

“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.  And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”  Genesis 4:1-5 (KJV)

The thing we need to see in this picture today is that Cain was a tiller of the soil – a man of the earth.  Abel was a shepherd.  Now who is it who is the  shepherd of the sheep and they shall not want; [have any lack]?  If you will note also the both of them came to worship the LORD with their offerings.  Cain brought of the “fruit of the ground”  of his own labors; of course; with the exception of God giving the increase; but it does not appear that Cain gives God any notice of that.  Abel on the otherhand, “brought from the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof…”  He brought the best that he had to give to God in worship.

Because of Abel’s worshipful gift the LORD accepted the gift; […the LORD had respect unto Abel…].   Abel is the picture, the type of our Lord Jesus as he was willing to give his best to God, was hated by his brother – Jesus hated by His brethren – and was a shepherd.  “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want…”

Follow this Scarlet Thread of Redemption, it  leads to Jesus Christ, His cross, burial, and resurrection.  He is coming again.  Are you ready?

-Tim A. Blankenship

…That They Might Know… God

“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent”  John 17:3 (KJV).

Jesus proceeds to pray for eternal life for those whom the Father has given Him.  Eternal life He says is knowing the Father.  It is God’s desire that people might know Him.  The knowing of God is having to do with an intimate relationship.

Does that blow your mind when you hear the word “Intimacy” or “intimate” what is the first thing that flashes through your mind?  It is probably like ‘Loving your spouse’ or something along that thought line.  And it is similar.  It is opposite of knowing about God.  Many of us might say, “I know the President of the United States”, but in fact only know of him, because we voted for or against him in the last election.  We hear about him everyday.  There are a few who can actually say and be truthful, “I know Barrack Obama”.  One of those would be his wife.  Others could be their two daughters.  They have an intimate relationship with our President.

Eternal?  How long is it?  It could be expressed this way; If you counted one million years, multiplied it by another million, then eternity would only be as a grain of sand on the seashore.  That is the life Jesus Christ as purchased for those who will trust in Him.  Eternity with the God of creation; who created all that is; and we have access to His very throne even now (Hebrews 4:16).

To know the Father one must also know Jesus Christ.  Jesus made it His life’s goal to make a way possible for men, women, boys and girls of every tribe, tongue, and nation to come to faith in God.  He made that possible by way of the cross, and now you can have a personal intimate relationship with the Creator of all that is.  By way of the cross of Jesus; the One whom the Father sent.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Mark Eleven – Twenty Seven through Thirty three

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Blessed Thanksgiving 2009

It is a wonderful and blessed thing to be alive, breathing, and walking upon this beautiful planet the Lord of all has blessed us with.  The stars which shine at night with the moon, and all the planets; those seen and those which cannot be seen with the human eye.

We can be thankful no matter what our lot in live.  Captive or free we are all captive in one way or another.  Let us all remember that we are made by the one true God; our Creator, Spirit, the Son of God and Savior of all who will call on that wonderful, glorious name of Jesus the Christ.

Thank God for family, friends, work, health, wealth because we here in the USA are wealthy compared to many places and people on earth.  Even if you have no home you still live in the land of the free, and home of the brave.

What a place to live, breathe, move and have our being.

Thank YOU Lord for YOUR blessings.

-Tim A. Blankenship

One Together

Jesus said,

“My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”

It tells us in the following verse,

“And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God”  (John 5:17-18).

Why do Christians see Jesus as Deity or God?  There is only one clear answer to that and it is this.  The Scriptures declare it.  Jesus Himself calls Himself and the Father as one; “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).  In the above text the religious leaders knew what He meant when He said, “My Father”, and they considered it blasphemy.  It is clear that Jesus meant what He said.

Jesus was with the Father in the beginning creating, bringing all that is into being.  “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made”  (John 1:3).  He is also the One who still holds all things together; “…And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist [are held together]” (Col. 1:17).  If you believe Him you believe the Father.  If you deny Him, you deny the Father.

Jesus is the Living Word that was with God, was God, and became flesh and walked among men.  See John 1:1, 14.  There is only one access to God, and that is through the Son of God – Jesus Christ, and His death, burial and resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Much, For Which To Be Thankful

We hear everyday how bad this nation is economically.  How many people are without jobs.  The numbers of people who are without health care.  The crimes in the nation.  These are bad, and some of it is down right evil.

Let us give some thought today for that in this country for which we ought to be grateful.

First of all let’s be grateful to our Creator who has allowed such a great nation even come to be.  He has not only allowed it to be but put it in the hearts of  the men and women who were inspired by His Spirit to be free from a tyrannical government.  Men and women who risked there lives at sea, and in coming to a new land.

Let’s thank God our Savior for inspiring Liberty, freedom, and caring for others without government aid.  Let’s be thankful for the men who have fought the enemy for these past 232 years to keep us free and at times helped give other nations freedom as well.  Freedom is the gift of our Creator, inspired through hearts of men who give their lives as our Savior has said,

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13 (KJV)

And we have had many a soldier lay down their lives to protect and to keep us from the harm of the enemy.  In the beginnings of this country soldiers were farmers, doctors, lawyers, blacksmiths, etc. who laid down their lives for their neighbors, families and friends.  Many soldiers today come from such families.  Thank you men and women of the United States of America who have risked life, limb, and economic status, for the freedom of the USA.

You may be one today who has found yourself without an income; had your home foreclosed on; and lost everything you had.  Be grateful that you still live in the land of the free, the home of the brave; and take a bold step forward, and thank the Lord above for the gift of freedom.  There is so much for which we can be grateful.

Family, friends, associates in the workplace, the air we breathe, the ground upon which we walk.  There is no place on earth like the United States of America.  Where else is there where people want to get, rather than get out of it.?  Thank God for the struggle of immigration.  Most of our families were immigrants who came here from Europe or some other place.

Health care is available to all.  It is not free, nor should it be.  Let’s be thankful for the doctors and nurses, and all medical personnel who work long days and nights just to provide health care to people who are in need.  Thank you.

You can finish it from here.  I pray that I have inspired you today to see some things for which to be thankful in this God blessed nation; even with all that is wrong within it.  There are still some things that are right.

May God continue to bless America.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Laughter Of The LORD

The rulers of earth under the crafty counsel of the serpent, and many times without their notice, or care seek to overthrow the direction of the Almighty God.  We looked at this in the first three verses of the Second Psalm.  The rage of the nations against the Almighty will come to naught. Our “science” and technology are given to us because our Creator has created.  Without God there would be no science or technology.  There would be no man; nor would there be any part of creation.

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.  Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.” Psalm 2:4-5 (KJV).

Have you ever thought of God as laughing?  There is no doubt that He laughs.  I do not believe, as a matter of fact, I know I would not want Him laughing in this matter toward me.  This concerns the puny efforts of men. It kind of reminds me of the idea of man creating life, and God says, “Get your own dirt”.  We cannot create life without that which God has already given.

We humans are many times awed by the work of our own hands.  The architectural designs of buildings, our cities skylines are sometimes beautiful in the evenings lit by electrical power; but nothing compares to the beauties of God’s creation.  The automotive designs of our automobiles; but what about the design of the human body; designed by our Creator.  The books and articles that are written; what about the book He has breathed for us to read, and heed.  These other things are the works of men.  It can be seen even in the religions of mankind.  “Look at what I have done” is too many times in the hearts of men.

God, the LORD, is the One who sits in the heavens.  He is the one who laughs at our petty attempts at being god.  That is what is on display here.  Attempts similar to that of the devil when he five times proclaimed “I will” (Isaiah 14:12-15).  In this God, the LORD, will have nothing but contempt for these hateful designs of godhood.  It is the arrogance and pride of the human will that keeps them from calling on the name of our Creator for salvation; or sometimes even acknowledging that He exists.

In His love He has given us His Son, and struck Him (judging all sin) on the cross that all who will call on His name will be saved.  In His wrath He speaks to them and shows His great displeasure.  There is only one way to give pleasure to the LORD God, and that is through His gift to us of His Son Jesus.  He does not laugh at those who are in Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Reservation Of Black Darkness

“These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” Jude 12-13 (NKJV).

“…Wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.“ This study brings to a conclusion up the study of these two verses, and I pray they have been helpful for your Christian growth. Jude would probably have loved to have wrote kinder, more encouraging words than what the Holy Spirit led him to write.

This letter written by our Lord’s half brother is full of discipleship, instruction, caveat’, for believers to beware of false teachers, in fact, apostates pretending to be Christian; knowing the language, but with a different meaning than what God, and His people really intend.

Those who teach things like, “Jesus came down zipped up in a suit of humanity…”. He wasn’t zipped in a suit of humanity. He was indeed deity in human flesh. He wasn’t dressed in some kind of party costume or something. He was fully divine and fully human. And, He bled. There are those in some “Christian” circles who claim that Jesus was nothing but a “wimp” and could do nothing on the cross against the devil. The devil is not the one who attacked Him on the cross. It was the Father who was judging our sins as our Lord was hanged between heaven and earth. Our sins were imputed to Him; they were placed on Him; and He paid our sin debt (2 Corinthians 5:21). Don’t dare call my Savior a “Wimp”, hanging there paying our sin debt. That debt was owed to the Father, not the devil.

Any teacher who preaches and teaches that Jesus was a ‘Wimp’ as he died on the cross is a liar, deceiver, an apostate, and false teacher. They at the least have no understanding of what took place on the cross that day. It cannot be fully understood by the finite mind of man. All we have to go on is the Word of God; and from that we gain the knowledge that on the cross, there was a transaction of judgment between the Father and the Son; and on the cross the victory over sin was won by Jesus Christ.

“…Wandering stars…” surely must be speaking of what we often call “falling stars”, which are meteorites falling through the earths atmosphere, and burning. They make a good show. I love to watch them falling, they are an awe of our Creator themselves. It is not pleasant to warn of these “wandering stars” which Jude warns us of; but we live in a day when these people are leading thousands, maybe even millions of people away from the cross of Jesus Christ into error of the world, and the devil. These false teachers are always talking about blessing from God in the material sense, but warn nothing of the curse of immoral living. Listen to them, and then, compare what they say with what the prophets of God, and Jesus and His apostles say; and you will see the error of their proclamations. You never know where they will be next. “Wandering stars”.

This “Blackness of darkness forever” is speaking of their eternal destination. There is no need for anyone to experience this horrible place when our Lord Jesus has already been there for us. For three hours our Lord experienced this darkness as He hung on that old wooden cross separated from the mercy of the Father, experiencing only His wrath, and for our sins. That sin debt – our sin debt – has been paid in full. The death of the Son of God was payment in full, and He rose bodily from His grave showing that the debt was paid, and that death had no power over heaven.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unharnassed; No Boundaries

Do we ever stop to think what our lives would be without boundaries, without rules, without laws? It is as though we think they hinder our freedom; provoke us to evil or something. Car commercials have spoken about going outside the boundaries – usually referring to driving off road – and if they are equipped for it, then in a car, I would say, “Go for it.” However, for people, boundaries, lines, and laws give us definition, purpose, and direction.

How does it look for little children who are learning to use crayons, and a coloring book, and they get out of the lines? We will make over a one or two year old who uses their “skills” and it is cute to watch them take the different colors, and do their best, and they will always get wild and out of the lines. We tell them how good they have done, but the only thing that gives us a clue as to what they have colored is the lines under the coloring. When a child gets a little older we expect more from them, and expect them to color within the lines, and use good colors for the article, as they get older there should be no more coloring outside the lines.

Are harnesses and boundaries necessary in a free society? Most definitely. They are even more necessary in a free society. Israel was a theocratic government; meaning God our Creator was the Sovereign ruler of the nation. They were to follow the laws, commandments, statutes, word, ordinances, testimonies, and precepts of God which had been given them through Moses, the priests and the prophets. There is no country on earth that I know of who does not have laws. These laws, whether they are just or unjust are for the people to follow [when they honor God] for their protection.

The prophet Jeremiah was grieved by the treachery of the leadership of Judah; from the prophets, priests and the kings. They had forsaken God, His laws, His word, and had began following foreign gods which are not gods (v. 7). Jeremiah addresses the leadership of Judah:

“I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased. How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” Jeremiah 5:5-9 (KJV)

The “yoke” is what was used for the oxen for plowing the field, pulling a cart, and other farm work. It was a means by which the farmer controlled the oxen, to plow a straight line, and to bring the oxen back to the barn for their safe keeping. We see a picture here of the leadership of Judah having broke the laws of God that was there to give them guidance, direction, and definition; and leaving them at the mercy of the surrounding enemy. One of the greatest things we can see in this picture is that God loves His children. However when God’s children break His law, His words, His commandments; they step outside the area of God’s protection and provision, and providence.

The oxen that breaks its yoke and is “free” is at the mercy of the “…lion out of the forest…”, and the “…wolf of the evenings..” and the speedy “leopard” watching over them. As the farmer would desperately try to round up the oxen, bring them back to the barn/stable; so God pleads with His people to return to Him putting away all the evil of their hearts.

Can we not hear the heart of God as He pleads with the leadership of Judah, “Thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses”? God had blessed Israel and Judah for many years, and they turn against Him; forsake Him, and turn to other gods which are not gods at all, but mere pieces of wood, stone, or jewels, or precious metals. They have turned from worshipping the Creator to worshipping the creation.

It is sad to realize that when God had blessed Judah so abundantly that their hearts grew cold toward God, His Word, His prophets, and faithful priests. As the heart grows cold toward God; cravings, desires for other things begin to affect the mind and heart. God shows that blessing without harnesses, laws, boundaries; if you will; leads to ungodly deeds, and is rebellion against God. Blessed minds without following the law of God will end with a heart as a “lusty stallion” (v. 8 NKJV, ESV). Adulterous minds, and hearts prevailed in the leadership of that day progressing into the very act of adultery with a house of prostitution; and stealing what belonged to others (Proverbs 6:26-35).

The horse that is still a stallion goes after every mare that he senses, and is hard to control. These leaders were as those stallions when it came to their positions of power; it was as though it was due them. No man’s wife was off limits in their thinking, and it almost seems that there are some religious leaders like that today [2009].

We should consider it a great, awesome, mighty, and wonderful think to have a visit from God – “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD”. This visit was not one that we should want or desire. It is somewhat like the father visiting the son in his bedroom following a day of causing Mom problems. That boy would just as soon be out of the house when Dad gets home.

The heart of the child of God longs for the visit of the LORD when He will come with arms outstretched welcoming us into His presence. We should be thankful for those visits which are as the one above when He comes to chastise us. His coming to chastise us proves that we are His children (Hebrews 12:6-8); His coming to visit Judah with all the enemies around them was evidence of His great love for this chosen people.

When we live in faithfulness to God, His Word, and His Son Jesus Christ then, we have the great blessing of our worship in Him, and great pleasure to His name and glory. There is only one way into the pleasure and glory of God and that is through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled all the requirements of righteousness. When we sin we have an Advocate with the Father (1 John 1:9-2:1), and we are cleansed from all our sin.

Let’s walk, live and die in His blessings. Let’s be faithful to Him in all that we do. We do it through the power of Christ within us, ie., the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself is our Harness, and our Boundary. And we are free from sin and its bondage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

One Greater Than the Sabbath

Greater Than the Sabbath

“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” Matthew 12:1-8 (KJV).

It seems that there are several times in the gospels where Jesus is doing something on the Sabbath day. In doing so He gains the attention of the religious leaders, where He evidently doesn’t in His teaching and preaching, or in the miracles that he does. These religious leaders believe in the Sabbath day celebrations, and worship. It is odd, but it was for their violations of the Sabbaths that Israel went into Babylonian captivity. At least that was one partial reason. They were in Babyonian captivity one year for each Sabbath which had been violated. This includes the sabbaths of the land, jubilees, and other (Read Leviticus 26). There is much said about Israel profaning the holy things in Ezekiel 20 – 23. One of those holy things is the Sabbaths of the LORD. When the LORD is speaking to them, warning them of the the dangers of disobedience He told them, “I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scater you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.” Leviticus 26:32-34 (KJV). This warning was carried out according to Jeremiah the prophet, “…To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil three score and ten years.” 2 Chronicles 36:21.

It could be because of the past that these Jewish leaders had taken such a strong stance on the sabbath. Not a good excuse or reason. It is nothing short of blindness. They are really not so concerned with the keeping of the sabbath day or special sabbaths as they are their power and authority. They were more concerned with popularity, than truth. The reason I make that judgment is because Jesus Himself told them they were blind, and in the above passage they seem to be unfamiliar with the Scriptures they are so fond of. They had the written truth, were familiar with the truth, but when the Truth was standing before them, they knew Him not.

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” How can religious leaders be telling the Creator that it is unlawful to walk through a field on the sabbath day, “harvesting and eating” grain? It is a very foolish effort on their part. Being the Creator He is greater than the sabbath day. He is the greatest rest. When we know Him we rest from our foolish attempts at righteousness, and rest in His righteousness alone.

Jesus is accused of profaning the sabbath and it happened many times. He dealt with His accusers justly, and with righteous judgment, and for the good of the people. The accusations of profaning the sabbath day was more rejection; and had no merit. The “righteous-guilty” are really the one’s who are first to condemn those who are really most righteous. Despite overwhelming evidence these self-righteous men continue to be bound by the one Jesus called their father.

Many of the people who came to Jesus, the multitudes who were fed of the five thousand and the four thousand, would later turn from Him. Many seek to follow wonders and signs, then, reject the Lord. To ask the Lord for signs in order to believe is not faith.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Omniscience of God

God’s All-Knowledge

The prophet, at least about to be, is sharing his call from God with us as we look at the rest of chapter one. Our verses today will just be verses four and five. I want to keep these articles relatively short. They are usually the ones which will be read, if most people are like me in that respect.

“Then the word of the LORD came to me saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NKJV).

While Jeremiah was serving as a priest with his family it surely grieved his heart to see the wickedness in the land. Many times this is the way God moves and works in calling men to serve as pastors, preachers, teachers, and other works. He places a burden upon the heart, and you go and grow in that as you hear the Lord and see Him work you just find yourself enjoying what He has called you to do.

The Lord had this planned for the prophet from the time the world was established. One of the things that the man of God needs to know and realize about God is that He is Omniscient, and that simply means that He is AllKnowing. There is nothing that God, the Creator of all that is, does not know. Someone has asked the question, “Is there anything God can learn?” Well the answer to that, if God is AllKnowing, is NO! Because He already knows everything there is to know.

That means He is never surprised by events, “accidents”, incidents, storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, car wrecks, bombs exploding, or wars. You could put just about anything in there that you could think of.

God knew Jeremiah before he was conceived in the womb, and you could say, it was God who gave the seed that caused Jeremiah to be. There is a good thing we can see from this and that is that none of us are an accident. God made us to be.

These verses are often used by those who are pro-life, which I am, to show that there is human life in the womb of the mother, concerning the baby. It is not just a blob of tissue, a mass which has invaded the body of the woman. It is a special, ordained by God, individual for whom He has plans; whether the woman does or not. I guess her plans; the woman getting an abortion; are extinction.

The prophet is “Sanctified” which is set apart to be clean, appointed, prepared to do a task, and that task as we shall see is to proclaim the word of the LORD to God’s people of Judah, and to the nations.

He is “Ordained” by God to proclaim the message God puts in his mouth, and upon his lips. He is to speak what God tells him to speak, and not withhold one word. That is the work of the prophet of God. Speak the word of God and do it with all one’s strength, and then the strength of God.

God knows you. He knew you before you were conceived. Yield your life to Him.

Speaking From the Mind

SPEAKING FROM THE MIND

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Exodus 20:7 (KJV)

Again, Jesus said, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:30 (KJV).

It is certain, at least to me, that many people of our society need a renewed mind. I know that Jesus also said that, “…From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45), but is it not the mind that gives the mouth the ability to speak. And, we do often “Speak our mind”. We say things like, “…I will give them a piece of my mind…”, and usually when we cannot afford to give them any.

God’s name is often used, even by professing Christians who use His name without thought. It has been said that the Hebrew scribes, when writing the Scriptures would change “pens” to write the name of God. It was so special that the name of God is not even clearly revealed in the original languages. In the Hebrew language all we know of the name God is YHWH. That name has been transliterated to Jehovah or Yahweh. The best name we have for God is J-E-S-U-S. And, how often we hear His name used vainly.

The precious name of God. He is precious because there is no other like Him. God, of whom I am writing, is the Creator of all that is, both seen and unseen with the human eye. He also made those things that can only be seen by microscopic means, as well. Even those things that have not yet been discovered by the finite mind of man.

Often when we hear this commandment our first thought is of those who use the name in cursing or swearing. We often think that is the only way of “Taking God’s name in vain”. The name of God is precious we must use our lips and our mind to honor Him.

We have looked at loving God “…with all our heart, soul…” and now we look at loving God ” …with all your mind…”. That requires thought. Before you speak – THINK. From the way I have heard many people speaking their minds have gone into the “Amusement” mode. The word “Muse” means ‘to think’ and anytime you add the letter “A” to another word like “Muse” it means “No”. So to “amuse” is to not think.

His name is PRECIOUS. Let us THINK before we speak.

The heart that is abundant with the things of God and Jesus His Son will speak from that abundance. An abundant heart will have a clear, thinking mind. The abundant heart will speak things which will glorify the Father and the whole God-head. When your heart and soul are filled with God, are you going to speak vainly of God? No way.

There are those who use God’s name in vain by cursing and swearing. What about those who speak God’s name, seemingly in a reverent manner on Sunday at church, but the rest of the week live like the world in the way they speak? It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy. Not just a hypocritical act but the act of a Hypocrite.

There is nothing that turns off a person away from God quicker than someone who professes Christianity on Sunday, but imbibes in the world the rest of the week. This is a taking of God’s name in vain as well. God help us to guard our minds, by always speaking reverently of God. “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9).

What about those who do all the churchy, traditional things, but overlook doing right toward their neighbor? “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” (Isaiah 29:13). “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9). “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” Luke 6:46-48 (KJV)

There is judgment for taking this precious, holy, loving, righteous name in vain. God says in the commandment itself, that, “…the LORD will not hold him guiltless…”. If you have ever used God’s name vainly/emptily you are guilty before God.

Give your heart, soul, mind and strength to the Lord through the Lord Jesus Christ. He took your guilt upon Himself, died for all our sins, carried them away, and was raised from death to life. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

The Soul Seeks for God

THE SOUL SEEKS FOR GOD

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6

Jesus said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:29-30

Oliver B. Greene once said, “Man could not have written this book (speaking of the Bible) even if he would have wanted to; and he would not have written it even if he could have.”

Likewise God is not the creation of man.

Man does, however, create his gods. Men make their gods after their own imaginations. The gods of men are non-restraining, non-threatening, require nothing of their creators. They have eyes, but cannot see; ears but cannot hear; feet, but cannot walk. They that make them are like unto them. If there is no other reason for not making a graven image, that seems sufficient for me. I want to be like the Creator, not these flimsy, wimpy, panty waist gods, who cannot know today from the future, and who has no power over the affairs of men.

THERE IS NO IMAGE OF GOD – EXCEPT MAN.

NOTE: To make an image for worship is to lower ourselves. “They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusteth in them” (Psalm 115:8).

The “Zodiak” are images in the stars. The images of “Terot” cards. Some worship men, including themselves.

THERE IS A DESIRE IN MAN TO WORSHIP. We must worship something, someone. Even an atheist worships – either herself/himself,  education, academia, government, science or something. Wherever your heart is, there is what you worship.

Go to any continent, nation, city, or tribe and you will find worshipping people. In some places you will find people who worship the sun, moon, stars, and or planets. In other places people who worship the elements – water, wind, fire. There are many, probably on every continent who worship the dead through “seances” “necromancy” – wanting to know the future. In many places, and probably on every continent, there are those who worship God in Spirit and Truth.

God has placed this place in mankind’s hearts. Without God our lives are empty and without purpose. God has put “eternity in man’s heart” so that the things of this world can never satisfy (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV, NIV).

Humans can search the world over for significance, peace, and for something worthy of their worship, but they will find none of those until they come to God by His Son Jesus Christ.

WORSHIPPING ANOTHER AND LESSER BEING. In God’s laws this is forbidden for the people of God.

Why does God forbid worshipping others? First of all, He says, “I am a jealous God”. He alone is responsible for our existence and sustenance. He is the One who has done everything to bring us to Himself. He is protective, loves us and desires that we be love Him. Secondly, He knows that whatever we worship is what we become in likeness. The Psalmist expresses this sentiment in Psalms 115, and 135. If we worship an impersonal idol with no restraints we will live with no restraints. The third reason is that He created us to worship Him, and to love Him and glorify Him.

When human beings devote themselves to another god they rob themselves of God’s glory.

To worship another is to add another burden to life. Idols have to be carried (Isaiah 46:1-2). I prefer the God who carries me.

WORSHIPPING ANOTHER AND LESSER BEING will not bring you peace, joy, fulfillment in worship, and will leave you condemned, and yet; in the end God will be glorified.

THE IMAGE THAT SEPARATES FROM GOD. “Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’ name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.” (2 Kings 18:4). It is obvious in looking at the totality of Scripture that images do not necessarily break the commandment. In Numbers God tells Moses to build a bronze serpent on a pole for the people to “look upon” – an act of obedience and faith in God (NUM.21:7-9). It is when the heart turns to that image and away from God and obedience to Him that is forbidden – to make the image an object of worship. In 2 Kings 18:4 the image of the bronze serpent on a pole is destroyed and called nothing but brass (“Nehushtan”= “That bronze thing”). King Hezekiah was angry with the people who worshipped this thing that had been a means of expressing faith in God.

Anything, from a “serpent on a pole” to a church building can become an idol. If it does it should be destroyed – at least in the heart of the one who worships it. Any object that is purposely built by another culture as an object of worship should be forbidden in our homes. To worship anything, but God is to worship demons; “What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

What is THE IMAGE THAT SEPARATES FROM GOD? Anything or anyone that takes your heart and soul away from devotion to God and seeking Him.

THERE IS NO IMAGE OF GOD EXCEPT HUMANKIND. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-9. Though that image has been marred by sin, it is fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

Man is the only part of God’s creation of which God has said is made in His image and after His likeness. Remember, everytime you look at another human being you are looking at the image of God. Though this image is darkened by sin; there is light for thier soul. To murder the unborn in the womb is to murder the image of God. To curse another human being is to curse the image of God. To lie about another is to lie about the image of God.

IN SUMMARY –

I. DIRECT YOUR DESIRE FOR PEACE, SHELTER, GLORY AND WORSHIP TO THE ONE WHO IS WORTHY.

II. TO WORSHIP ANY OTHER IS TO LOWER YOURSELF TO THAT IMAGE, AND BECOME LIKE IT – WORSHIP GOD.

III. WORSHIP THE GOD OF CREATION, AND NOT THE CREATION.

IV. YOU ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD;

It has been marred by sin, but you can offer true worship to God through Jesus Christ – He is the image of God unmarred by sin.

Admit you have sinned, confess your sin and trust in Jesus who fulfilled all the law by meeting the demands of the law by His death on the cross, by His burial; carrying all our sins away, and by His resurrection.