In a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:1-6 (KJV)

Far too often we notice there are not too many “Just Societies”.  Even in the United States of America more often than not, there is injustice.  Money is needed to get a good lawyer to defend oneself from a false charge; or even to be sure one can get a fair trial.  I do believe in our Justice system, but I also see the injustice in it.

A man or woman charged with a crime is supposed to be seen as “Innocent until proven guilty”; but that does not always happen either.  We all too often begin condemning the indicted individual with a guilty verdict long before the trial; even on the streets, and highways and byways of the areas around the case.

The following are thoughts for Proverbs 28:1-28…

Verses 1a, 4, 12, 15, 28 – A look at the wicked. The wicked are those who refuse to recognize the way of God, His Word, and refuse to submit themselves to Him; whether rich, or poor. 1.) The wicked see a conspiracy behind everything that is against them, and flee. 2.) For anyone to turn their backs on righteous laws is to give praise to the wicked who break those laws. 3.) When the wicked rule and are in leadership people tend to hide. 4.) Wicked rulers among poor people are as devastating as an angry growling lion (Job 24:4; Prov. 19:12; 1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 2, 5, 8-9, 11, 16-17, 21-22, 25-26 – A look at the wicked who are wealthy; leadership, rulers. 1.) Many rulers, maybe “Big government” is a result of a wicked nation. 2.) True justice is not understood by the unjust; and that goes along with exhorbitant interest, profits, low wages, etc.. 3.) The unjust will be “cruel oppressors”, and will most likely have “blood on their hands” thus face eternal judgment. 4.) Greed, partiality, will ultimatley bring poverty into the lives of those who practice it – ultimate destruction.

Verses 3, 10a, 13, 24 – The wicked poor. 1.) You would think a poor man would be more understanding of the poor; but the wicked poor will stoop to the lowest degree in order to improve their own situation in life. 2.) Destruction awaits those who would lead an upright individual astray – take Balaam as an example (Numbers 31:8, 16). 3.) It is the tendency of all wicked people to cover their transgressions, and even refuse to believe they have transgressed (v. 24).

Verses 1b, 6-7, 10b, 12a, 14, 18-20, 23, 27 – The way of righteousness. 1.) The righteous have no reason to fear the thing so the world or of man; they have died to the wickedness of the world. 2.) The poor upright are better off, and wise in God. 3.) The Lord will bless those who are upright in the things he/she possesses. 4.) There is glory and happiness in the fear of the LORD (vv. 12, 14). 5.) Salvation, plenty, and blessings are the reward of the righteous. 6.) A just and righteous tongue is favored; and gives to the poor, and shall not lack (vv. 23, 27).

The only way to a just society is through the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has told us…

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

We can only receive that “Justness” that righteousness through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Believe Him, trust Him: call on His name (Romans 10:13).

What Price Truth?

“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23 (KJV)

How much value do you place on Truth? There is one thing about Truth that cannot be said much of anything else. Truth is truth no matter what part of the world you are in, or what your culture may be, or whatever your traditions might be. Truth is not a philosophy, nor is it a religion. Truth stands pat, and never changes.

What is the worth of Truth? Without Truth there would be no wisdom, instruction or understanding.

The following are quotes from commentaries, and we all need to realize there is much value in the truth; and that value is to stand on the truth even if it cost us our lives, because without the truth there is really no life.

“Do not sell the truth at any price (v. 23)! It costs something to live by the truth, but it costs even more to abandon the truth.” Warren Wiersbe from With the Word Bible Commentary.

“We should be willing to pay a great price for truth, but unwilling to sell it for any consideration. The same goes for wisdom and instruction and understanding. We should spare no pains to acquire them, but never surrender them for anything in this world.” Believer’s Bible Commentary

Truth does not change with the times. It does not change with a changing culture. The Truth is personified in the person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6); and in Him we must trust.

Speed Deliverance

“Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD.” Psalm 70:1 (KJV)

Like the Psalmist most of us often feel the pressures of this life; work, home, family, friends, even society and culture; pushing us, crowding us, holding us, even destroying us.  At least that is how we feel at times.

It  is in these times we plead for help.  Many who know not God through His Son Jesus will seek out solace, and comfort from sources which will only lead to more problems, and addictions.

For the Christian, born again by the Spirit of God, it is always the right time to plead for God’s deliverance, His help, His strength, His comfort.

If you are an non believer, no follower of Christ Jesus, and you find yourself in a quandary; you realize you cannot solve the problem of life, you realize you are a condemned, dying, person; then is the right time for you to cry out to the Living God for deliverance.  He will with all speed come to your deliverance.

Christian brother and sister; never fear God makes haste to come to you aid.  You may call out to Him from what ever situation you may find yourself.  He hears, He comes, He delivers, and gives you peace.

Being Drawn Out

Being Drawn Out

 

Exodus 2:1-25

The name “Moses” means “Drawn out”.

1. Drawn Out From a Place of Hiding; at Home (vv. 1-4).

2. Drawn Out From The Bulrushes to a New Home and Culture (vv. 5-10).

3. Drawn Out From the Culture to Fulfill Old Promises (vv. 11-14).

4. Drawn Out From a Life of Power, Prosperity and Ease; to a Life of Preparation (vv. 15-25).

Like The Animals???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Reminder of His Love

In the last article on this chapter of Jeremiah, the final verse of our text was the last part of verse 19 which tells us, “And the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” That is usually the reason for departure from God.

As we look into the following verses we see the Lord having them recall their deliverance from bondage, then playing the harlot, turning against their deliverer.

“For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me? For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord GOD.” Jeremiah 2:20-22 (KJV)

One of the things that we can see throughout God’s dealings with the chosen people is that He loves them. His grace is everlasting, and His mercy endures forever. That is a theme for His people throughout all of Scripture.

God had delivered His children from the bondage of Egypt, and burst the bonds which held them. He had done this in just a matter of days while working in Egypt through the plagues upon the land and the people. They witnessed the mighty power of God. Not just Israel, but Egypt witnessed this awe-inspiring events which turned the heart of Pharoah, at least for a time, to let God’s people go.

The people had promised God they would not transgress His law. They did. That is why the declaration is made, “When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down playing the harlot”. The pagan, Gentile altars were on the high hills, and under the trees. God is charging the people with spiritual adultery. That is, the forsaking of the true Husband for an imposter. They had turned away from holy God for unholy pleasures. They had forgotten the attitude of Moses. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way –

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”  Hebrews 11:24-26 (KJV)

The prophet Isaiah in a previous time had spoken of Israel as a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7). He speaks of the Husbandman planting the vineyard, but all He received were wild grapes. God says through Jeremiah, “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality”, and now they have turned their backs on God and are worshipping stone, wood, flesh. They have in fact become an “alien vine”. That is not what God planted. That is the picture we see.

When they have made themselves unclean before God, they then, evidently feel guilty, try to wash themselves clean with the strongest cleanser they have available that day. They would go and worship the false gods, taking pleasures that should not have been their’s to have. After their violation of holiness with God they would then seek to make themselves clean before God, and without true repentance.

Thus God says, “Yet your iniquity is marked before Me”.

The lesson for the follower of Jesus Christ is that we have been delivered from sin. Our sins have been forgiven. The law of the Lord is written in our hearts. We are free to live righteously, holy, and undefiled lives through the power of the Spirit of Christ who lives in us. When we sin we have an advocate with the Father. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. There is need for repentance and that is a turning from sin and to the Lord Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Corrected By Your Own Sins

In our world today we hear parents saying things like, “I want the best for my children”, or “I will do whatever I can to protect them from harm”, while at the same time let them live in immorality. Even letting the “Make up their own minds concerning morality or religion.” Parents putting their daughters on birth control pills, so they will not get pregnant is one good example of what I refer. Another is the new vaccine which supposedly protects young girls from getting a cancer which can only be contracted by sexual intercourse prematurely. That is another example.

One of the things I have noticed about God is that He does not prevent us from sinning, in most situations. He does let our sin cause us grief and sorrow.

Therefore do parents do their children good by trying to protect them from means that should teach them responsibility.? It is my belief that it is harmful to their eternal well being to try and protect them from the means that could be used to bring them to God, or to become right in fellowship with Him

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled?  The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.  Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.  Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor; or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”  Jeremiah 2:14-19 (KJV)

God is not as concerned for our physical health or wealth as He is our holiness. He despises sin and wickedness. He despises even more His own people turning away from Him. When we look to other means for safety, such as the people in the prophet’s day were doing in “Take(ing) the road to Egypt…” and “…the road to Assyria” we have turned from the Lord our God.

God is greatly grieved when His own people turn from Him to serve other gods, which are not gods, but only stone, wood, metal, or flesh. Why would the people of God do such a thing? One of the things that was prevalent in Jeremiah’s day was they had grown comfortable, wealthy, fat, and satisfied with themselves. They had the attitude, “We can never fall. We are a God blessed nation. We have the temple of God, and He will never let anything happen to it”.

I look around our Nation today, and I see much of that same attitude. Even though there is the imminent threat of terrorists infusion, bombings, and destruction we still are not trusting our Lord. We have placed more confidence in our economy, our bank account, our government, but where is our faith in God?

Since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 we have been under the merciful hand of God. Our Nation has not been attacked within our borders since that time. Is that because of our great government, our President, our wonderful Congress, and Senate? No way. It is due to the mercy and grace of God. However, that mercy and grace protecting us from terrorists attack will be removed. It has been the hand of God. He has been calling us back to Himself, and giving time for others to come to Him. That time may soon be over, then we will see the worst of terrorism.

Our own wickedness, our own backslidings will correct us. God gave a message to the two and one half tribes of Israel who were to settle on the East side of Jordan. After telling they they were to go and give aid to their brethren who were going to settle on the West side, He said through Moses,

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”  Numbers 32:23 (KJV)

If your life is filled with fear; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are trusting in things, or government for security; you are not trusting the Lord. If you are looking to any thing other than to God; your own sins will correct you. If you are His He will make you holy, and He will do whatever it takes to make you so.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Case Against God’s People

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Known for that because of his mourning for the sins of the people of Judah, and Jerusalem. He sees the failings of the priesthood, of which he was part. The weaknesses, the hypocrisies, and often blatant lies and deceptions; not only among the priests but among those who called themselves prophets of God.

God could speak with Jeremiah. Jeremiah heard, and many times responded to what God said. Hear what God says to Jeremiah near the beginning of his ministry;

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.'”  Jeremiah 2:1-3 (KJV)

God begins in the first message by confirming them in their first belief. They had followed, at least through Abraham, had been obedient in the wilderness, and had grown in love with the LORD. There was kindness, fondness, love in their hearts for the LORD, realizing that He alone was responsible for their having a land, a promise. They had been chosen from the place of God’s amazing grace and mercy. They were undeserving. They were unworthy. They were sinners among the other sinners of the earth. There was nothing special about them, thus in there early days they loved the LORD.

Despite the fact of their departure the LORD reminds them of His promise, “All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD”. No one can expect God’s blessing who lifts their hand against the people, the nation, whom God ordained to give us the Scriptures, ordinances, and laws. Yet there is room for His judgment. Pray for Jerusalem – Israel.

As Christians we must remember our “First love”. That love we had for Jesus when we first believed. The things of the world around us have a power which can lure us away from loving Him. God commended five of the early churches of the Revelation, but would only condemn two of them because they had departed from Him.

If you truly know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then, there was a time when you walked with Him, you loved Him, cherished Him, and it did not bother you that there were times He seemed distant, but you trusted His Word when He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Something has happened in the past few days, weeks, months, or years that have caused you to get away from Him, His Word, from praying, and cherishing His abiding presence. You have become more consumed with sports, entertainment, comforts, leisure, conveniences, and even family activities, than with your walk with Him. It is time to return to Him, before the judgment of your sin comes on you.

He puts His protecting hand on all who have trusted Him. You can believe He will keep you, protect you, and anyone who raises an evil hand against you will suffer by His hand. Be assured God loves you with an everlasting love. Enjoy it, revel in it, rejoice in it, and He will be glorified.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Making of The Preacher

The call of the prophet was one of separation. It was one for Jeremiah that would separate him from his family, due to the message he would be proclaiming, it would even keep him from marriage. There were times he would even feel that God had forsaken Him. We will see these things as we progress through this wonderful prophecy which our LORD God has given us.

The passage of the prophet for today is chapter one, verses 17-19;

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.” Jeremiah 1:17-19 (KJV).

The idea of “girding up the loins” is the idea of getting one’s self ready for the task at hand. You might say of a preacher called by God, “Get yourself ready to do My bidding”. As Paul spoke to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV). Jeremiah was called to preach the Word of the Lord and he must be prepared. He must know that calling is sure, because there were going to come times in his ministry where that would be all that he had.

“Arise”, get up and get going, the time is short. “Speak to them all that I command thee”. There can be no changing of the message to soften the impact. It must be spoken as God has given it. It is sad to say and to think, but there are many preachers, who are pastors of churches and preach (if you can call it that) messages that are watered down versions of the truth, thus not the truth, but lies. They would rather be popular with their people. Popular with the people unpopular with God. Which would we be? God says to the prophet, “Be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them”.

If we as preachers neglect to preach Jesus; His death on the cross; His burial; His bodily resurrection; and His promise… “I will come again” then we fail to preach the Word of God.  That is the essence of all of Scripture.

The prophet is called to stand, to be strong. God tells Jeremiah, “I have made you this day a defenced city, an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests , and against the people of the land.” This is God’s promise to Jeremiah of God’s protection from harm. Even when the judgment comes on the land, even though the people, the kings, the princes, and the priests turn against him Jeremiah is promised protection. His life will be kept and preserved. Someone has said, “The man of God in the will of God is immortal, until God is through with him”. That is a profound statement. Of course the one who made that statement must have been speaking of this temporal life we live here on earth, because with Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are immortal anyway.

The promise of God for protection would be a mighty force in the faithfulness of Jeremiah. The promise is a mighty power in our lives as well. To think that his own family, friends, king, princes, and others would try to harm him, even try to kill him, and he having the promise of God’s protection and keeping. “They shall fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you.” Would you rather have the friendship of the world, or the protection and power of God on your life? Think about it. You cannot have both, if you are going to be a preacher of God’s Word.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living – Our Examples

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’ Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  1 Corinthians 10:6-12 (KJV)

The Christian has many examples in Scripture to follow.  When there are so many who want to follow the example of our society or culture; let the Christian be the one who says, “I will follow Christ, and live my life for Him, and His glory.  No matter what this culture does I will live for Christ; be pure, clean, and glorify His name.”

Some of you need to repent of the life you have been living; make that turn around today, and make that decision today.

Join with me in making that your declaration, and life today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Sweetness of His Word, and His Presence

And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and He spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.  Moreover He said unto me, ‘Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.’  So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll.  And He said unto me, ‘Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee.’  Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”  Ezekiel 2:9 – 3:3 (KJV)

How important is the Word of God?  For the Christian it is the very sustenance of life and faith.  For the world it is just as important as is the Creator.

-T.A.

The Angry Prophet

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, ‘I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.  Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech Thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”  Jonah 4:1-3 (KJV)

This prophet who despised the people to whom the LORD had sent him, did not want to see this people forgiven, but rather his desire was to see this mass of people destroyed.  The LORD was having mercy on Nineveh, when He saw their repentance.  Due to their sin Nineveh was destroyed about 100 years later.

Of all things for a preacher to become angry about.  People getting right with God, and changing their hearts and minds about the way they were living.  That is why preachers preach.  There are things worth getting angry about for the preacher.  The murder of the innocent unborn.  The slavery of women and children around the world.  The captivity of drugs, alcohol, gambling, and pornography; and its destruction to our society.  There are many other things for which the preacher to be angry.  Rejoice, however, when people repent of their sins and get right with God.

To give us little bit of background on Jonah; he was a patriot of Israel.  He loved his nation.  He loved his God; and Nineveh was the enemy to himself, his nation and his God.

Let me just end by asking this question:  Is patriotism; love for one’s country more important than following the call and will of God?  I leave the answer with the reader.

-T.A.

To Know the LORD

Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law.  Israel shall cry unto Me, ‘My God, we know Thee.’  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.  They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.”  Hosea 8:1-4 (KJV)

Hosea is speaking to the people who claim to be God’s children.  Those who claim to know God, “My God, we know Thee.”  Yet, they do not keep His law.  They do not heed His word.

The LORD counts it a vile, wicked and unruly thing for those who claim to know Him, and do not obey His law, nor keep His Word.  There is judgment for those who claim to be God’s people, yet live as the people of the earth.

GOD is full of mercy and grace which is found and received only through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  Hear Him.  Believe Him.  Be saved today.

-T.A.

God Brought Salvation

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)

The salvation which God brings to the world through His Son Jesus is a great salvation. Those who are in the faith of Christ are assured that that salvation will be finalized by the “blessed hope” the coming of Christ for His own, and the redemption of the world, and all creation at His glorious appearing.  Christian; live like He could come today.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

-T.A.

The Christian Walk

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.  Wherefore He saith, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:5-16 (KJV)

The Christian Walk is similar to Christian Life and Living, and it is also the walk of Enoch of old, Elijah, and others.  That walk is in agreement with GOD, and His Word (Amos 3:3), and there is only one way to walk with GOD, and that is to agree with Him.

The Christian is a changed individual.  She/He will trust the Lord even when darkness seems set on derailing our walk.  We must cherish our walk with God.  Continue in it even when the way is rough, rocky, dark, and lonely.  Walk diligently, circumspectly in the Lord.

-T.A.

Day 77 – Shipwrecked, Sin, and Slavery

The world we live in with all the conveniences, comforts, and wealth is not often viewed with slavery, or sin in mind.  As a matter of fact most of the human race would just as soon forget the idea of sin and chalk it up to being an antiquated idea.  An ancient superstition or fear that was in the hearts and minds of people of times long ago.  We are beyond that are we not?  We are a civilized, educated, knowledgeable and technological society free of this “sin idea”.

We better back up and rethink this thought of sin.  My reading this morning of April 17, 2012 was Acts 26-28 and Romans 1-7.

In the reading we find Paul on his way to Rome by ship and the lives of the people on board are in great jeopardy, fear, and loss of life is seemingly imminent.  (I use the word “seemingly” because there is a divine factor involved.)

“Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, and said unto them, ‘Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.’   Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.”  Acts 27:9-11 (KJV)

The godly wisdom of Paul told him, and I am pretty sure the Holy Spirit gave him enlightenment in the situation as well, that there was great harm awaiting the people and ship if they set sail at this time.  The “Centurion” (Roman soldier) did not listen to Paul, but rather to the captain of the ship.  That seems like the logical thing to do, but it was not the right thing to do.

The ship ends up in a storm.  For fear of their lives cargo, much of the ships gear is cast overboard.  They were in this storm for many days, going without food, and began losing hope of ever seeing land again (Acts 27:20).  Paul has received a visit from “the angel of God” and gives them assurance,

“But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, ‘Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.  And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.  ‘Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.  Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.”  Acts 27:21-26

It was just as Paul told them.  They shipwrecked upon an island, are served by the people, and Paul preaches the gospel to them.  Paul goes to Rome, and it is from Rome we receive the Roman Letter.

In Romans 1 Paul deals with the issue of the sins of the nations.  In chapter two the sins of Israel, including the Jewish religious leaders.  We are told that our sins have brought us short of the glory of God (3:23), and that is God’s intent for humanity, ie. to glorify Him.

The idea of slavery comes into this post by way of  chapter 6 and verse 16 through 18,

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”  Romans 6:16-18

Some people do not like to think about, and there may be some who honestly do not even know it; but there is slavery in our technological society.  There is still evil in this world.  There is a slavery where women, children and some men are kidnapped, and taken and sold for outrageous prices (Of course selling people at any price is outrageous).  These are often sold as sex slaves, placed on streets in foreign cities and in the United States.  However, there is a slavery which we all need to deal with on a personal basis; and that is slavery to sin.

Apart from Jesus Christ there is no real freedom.  If sin has dominion of your life you are in bondage.  People say things like, “Religion is bondage” or something like that and try to present the picture that freedom is “Doing as one pleases with their lives”.  One’s who are in Christ Jesus are truly free to do as they desire, because it is God who gives us our desires when we are walking with Him (Psalm 37:4).

Paul says at the end of chapter 7,

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”  Romans 7:24-25

Turn to Jesus Christ.  The only source of peace, joy, freedom and forgiveness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 66 – Consider Your Ways

Do we really stop to consider the way we live our lives?  Are we a society that is consumed with doing our own thing; out for self fulfillment?  It seems that way at times.  Whether we like to admit it or not there is evil in the world.  The only thing is who determines what is evil?

In our look at people we often see people joining in to help others.  There have been many storms, tornadoes, tsunamis, as well as fires and earthquakes; and multitudes of neighbors come and help one another recover.  That is a good thing.  Right?  I certainly see it as good.  Yet there is something wrong.

The something wrong is how people react toward God and His Word.

My reading today was from Zephaniah 1 through Zechariah 9.  There is a two chapter prophet within this reading by the name of Haggai where I got the title for this post.  Four times Haggai uses the word “Consider”.  Twice is to the returned people from Babylon to “Consider your ways”, and that is in the first chapter.

Though the words are not used in Zephaniah or Zechariah the cry is still with both of these prophets as well.

Zephaniah sees there is a departure from the LORD and calls for the people to return or suffer judgment.  The prophecy takes place during the reign of Josiah, king of Judah; and Josiah was one who did right in the eyes of the LORD.  Yet, even taking away the idols themselves does not remove the idol from the heart.  They were still practicing the evil of their hearts.

“I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.  I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.   ‘I will also stretch out Mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; and them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for Him.”  Zephaniah 1:2-6 (KJV)

The LORD defines “evil” much different than man does.  Evil in God’s view is when His people turn from Him to serve and trust other things, such as gold, silver, friends, family; comfort and pleasure.  Evil is also when the unbelieving refuse to believe in Him.  The LORD desires those who are His to seek Him, to inquire of Him.

The prophet Haggai writes during the time of the return of Israel to the land of Promise, and they need to rebuild the temple, but they are neglecting doing so.  They have their own houses built, but neglect the temple.  Meaning, that they are neglecting the worship of the Most High GOD.  Hear the word of the LORD through Haggai,

“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,  ‘Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; ‘Consider your ways.  Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6

The implication and clear message is that they are lacking due to their neglect of worshipping the LORD.  That was their reason for being returned to Jerusalem; that is to rebuild the temple; yet they were neglecting the very One who was fulfilling His Word to them and for them.  Notice the following word from the LORD;

“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” Haggai 2:7

Even before the temple is completed God gives the people promise and hope for days to come.  The “desire of nations” is the Messiah of Israel.  He is the Savior of the world.  The seed of David.  The Prince of peace.  Wonderful Counselor.  Mighty God.   Everlasting Father.  He is the Son of God.  His name is Jesus.  He is the desire of nations.

Zechariah speaks of this One as well;

“And speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, ‘Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the LORD: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”  Zechariah 6:12-13 (KJV)

So, you may think that you are a “righteous person”, but by God’s standard you nor myself measure up.  We fall short.  There is only one hope to be rid of the evil in our hearts and lives.  That is by believing and receiving the gift God gives in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.  That gift is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins.  He was buried, and He rose again bodily from the grave.  He cares for you.  God cares enough to give the very best.  Consider your ways.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Major Moral Issue

The following is an article from Kairos Journal

The Pansexual Appetite

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.”

Genesis 19:4-7 (NIV)

Sociologically speaking, homosexuality ultimately leads to predatory activity. Research has shown that male homosexuality specifically is associated with a ravenous “pansexual” appetite that spawns other, even more heinous perversions. As psychiatrist and physician Jeffrey Satinover has demonstrated, “What we call the ‘gay lifestyle’ is in large measure a way of life constructed around unconstrained sexuality.”1 Wherever homosexuality flourishes and the cultural limits of sexuality are broken, not even children are safe from the effects.2

When the wicked men of Sodom approached Lot’s door and demanded access to his two male visitors, their intent was clear. The phrase “so that we can have sex with them” is synonymous with the rendering “so that we can know them.” The Hebrew verb “to know” used in this context carries with it the connotation of sexual relations (e.g., Gen. 4:17, 25). In verses 7-8, Lot clearly understands the word to be used with a sexual meaning. He calls their desire to “know” the men a “wicked thing” and offers his virgin daughters as a substitute. If their desire were simply to get acquainted with the men over a drink, Lot’s response would be absurd. Seeking to dismiss the matter of homosexuality as the sin in this passage, one modern interpretation insists that evidence in Ezekiel 16:49-50 suggests that God actually judged the Sodomites for their pride and lack of hospitality. But this explanation is weak if not laughable: both of these sins were bound up with a whole city engulfed by a drive for same-gender sexual relations. The sin had been compounded to such an extent that every man of the city viewed mere visitors as prey (v. 4).

Other pro-homosexual biblical interpreters argue that the sin of the Sodomites was not homosexuality per se, but the violence that they coupled with it—that is, their intention of gang rape. Jude 7, however, simply states that the sin of Sodom was that they “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued ‘strange flesh’”—the typical language Scripture uses to refer to homosexual activities. But what those who would seek to find something exceptional about the homosexuality in Sodom do not recognize is this: homosexuality in general opens the floodgates for all sorts of other deviant behaviors. They are inextricably linked. The men of Sodom who had given themselves over to same-sex intercourse eventually became the men who preyed on innocent visitors to their city.

Those calling for the normalization of homosexuality in modern cultures may not realize what they are asking for. Although many homosexuals are not predators like the men of Sodom, the truth is that the general practice always opens up a Pandora’s box to other kinds of deviancies such as pedophilia. Again, Satinover reports that “careful studies show that pedophilia is far more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals.”3 For this reason, those who seek to prevent special “rights” being given to same-sex relationships do not do so out of spite, bigotry, or hatred toward any persons. Rather, they act in the interest of the social good; they realize that if homosexuality is given a “free pass” in society, a host of attending evils will follow in its wake. Long before the fire and brimstone fell, the judgment of homosexuality had already begun within the walls of Sodom and Gomorrah. The same will occur in any culture that permits the practice to spread unabated.

Footnotes:
1     Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 61.
2     Satinover warns that the acceptance of homosexuality results in a “general lifting of sexual constraint, which the philosophy that undergirds gay activism necessarily promotes.” Such an environment, he goes on to explain, produces an environment in which pedophilia becomes more acceptable. Ibid., 62-63.
3     Ibid., 64.

You can find other interesting articles on spiritual and moral issues here and you can receive free email updates from them.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Day 13 – The Curse of the Tree

In reading Deuteronomy 15 – 28 today I came across these familiar verses,

 “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

To hang a man on a tree was a form of what we call “capital punishment”; an offense worthy of death.  A penalty that today is frowned on by many.  The arguments go something like this; “It doesn’t make sense to kill one human being because they killed one.”  or maybe “Violence begetteth violence.”  Some might even say “The death penalty is not for a cultured, modern, educated people.”

When we, however, consider the Word of God and His commands for the death penalty and why we can have no legitimate argument against God for this divine punishment.  God says every human being is made in His image.  There is not one who is more or less in the image of God.  For one to take a human life maliciously, with hatred, and forethought is murder; and God says this requires “Life for life”.  If the murderer is allowed to live it broadcast to the community that this life is of more value than the life that was maliciously taken.

Of course, there is also the requirement of evidence of guilt.  A murderer can only be found guilty by the testimony of at least two witnesses.  We read these things in the reading of God’s laws; as recapped in Deuteronomy, and previously in Exodus and Leviticus.

One of the things we learn from this is that each human life is valuable.  None less and none more so than another.

Now, back to “The curse of the tree”.  This verse is even mentioned in the New Testament from Paul’s epistle to the Galations;

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:'” Galations 3:13

We are all guilty of offending God, His holiness, His righteousness, and His law.  We are guilty and worthy of death.  We are just as cursed as the man who hangs on a tree.  We read, however, that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”  When Jesus Christ died on that cross [the tree] he became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and because He became the curse of sin for us; we were given His righteousness, thus we now have access to the very throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).

Through His burial the guilt and condemnation of sin was carried away; and by His resurrection He bodily arose victorious over death’s condemnation and overcame the curse of the tree.

Blessed be the name of the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Consider the Poor

In a wealthy society such as the United States we are guilty of not thinking much of the sick and poor.  When and if we consider them at all we do not think of them very long.  We tend to put them out of our minds.  As a child growing up living on a farm, and my Dad working at making a living on the farm and from the farm; I never  thought of us as being poor.  We probably never had what neighbors had; but we had more than others, so I never did think of it as being poor.

David was probably running for his life from Saul when he wrote this Psalm, and he was seeing himself as “Poor”, and knew there were folks who did not travel with him who did him good; treating him right, and donating to his welfare – his welfare as well as the people with him

Hear the words of David,

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.”  Psalm 41:1

The word “Blessed” is a word meaning “Happiness”, but reaches further than just a happy thought or a laugh from a joke.  The word “Considereth” means to give attention to.  It is a good and great thing to give attention to those who are needy.  Whether it be materially poor, physically poor due to sickness or disease, God cares for the poor.  One’s who are so weak they cannot help themselves.

Jesus says in Matthew 5,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3)

The “Poor in spirit” are those who cannot help themselves to the kingdom of heaven.  We all need help there.  We need the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make the way, pay the price, and take us into the presence of the Father.

Consider the poor.

-Tim

Seven Things Which God Hates

Some want to think that God hates nothing.  However, if there is not hate, then what is love, and the apostle John says that “God is love”.  Since God is love there must of necessity be some things which He hates, and the Bible in Proverbs gives us seven of them; which seems to cover every gamut of evil in the world.

Hear the wisdom of the ages –

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”  Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)

I preached a seven part series of sermons in 2006 on this and you can find them by clicking on this sentence.

I do not believe I have ever seen a time in my life when there is such a pride and arrogance, especially among leaders.  Leaders in the business world, leaders in politics, leaders of Nations; and even leaders in churches who profess to know God and His Son Jesus.  With noses in the air they walk around defying God and His Word.

Lies, lies, and more lies are seen.   A person can tell a lie until it becomes the truth in their own mind.  The lying tongue has intent to deceive and defraud.  “Lie” – any statement or act designed to deceive another person, and or harm them, their reputation or possibly even bodily.

There are hands shedding innocent blood.  Mothers killing their own babies; before they are born and after they are born.  Sons killing fathers; fathers killing sons – sometimes neither are not so innocent blood.  Governments killing Christians for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Husbands and wives killing the innocent spouse for insurance money or to get another spouse.

With the heart of imagination men have designs against God, His Word, His people, His land, and His future.  “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalm 2:1).  I have news for the ones imagining to overthrow Israel, and set up a quote “Palestinian Nation”.  It will not succeed.  God’s covenant stands forever.  The United Nations will fail.  Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Russia, Libya, the United States of America, etc. will all fail and fall; but our God and His Word will stand forever.

There are feet that are swift for destruction.  Evil feet are feet that move with haste without much thought as to its outcome and destruction of life to oneself or others.  Mostly for acquiring material gain.  Swift at running to mischief.  Looking for the next party; the next drunken brawl; the next adulterous affair.  Swift to move toward evil.

A false witness speaks lies in order, usually, to gain for ones self.  There is usually a malicious – intent to do harm – cause behind a false witness.  Jezebel lied about Naboth in order to gain his vineyard for king Ahab, and caused Naboth’s death (1 Kings 21).  Does that happen in courts and politics today?  Does that happen in families today?  Has that happened to you?  Have you been the one who committed the abomination?

Sowing seeds of discord is an act of  “terrorism” among families.  It does not do any good for churches neither.  If it is no good for these then, why would it be good for Local governments, State governments, or federal governments?  It is not.

If you will notice all of these are called an “Abomination unto Him”.

There is only forgiveness and eternal life through the One who died on the cross for our sins; was buried taking away our sin, guilt and condemnation; and rose bodily from the grave, and is one day soon returning to set things right in this world and the hearts of men.  His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Dwell at Ease

We people who are citizens of the world enjoy our comfort and ease; especially those of us who are citizens of the USA.  We hardly know anything but our own comfort and ease.  Even the poorest among us is far more wealthy than some of the people in what is known as “third world countries”.  Where did that term ever come from anyway? “Third world country”.

God has given a promise to a certain lot of people for an ease to life through the words of the Psalmist –

“What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose.  His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.”  Psalm 25:12-13

Fear is a part of human life.  What we fear, and sometimes who we fear will affect how we live.  There are people who fear the unseen, the unknown, the future.  Fear of these things are fruitless and can help no one except cause you pain and grief.

There is a fear that is worth while for all the human race, and that is to fear God, the LORD.  It has been said by godly men down through the ages; I do not think it can be credited to any one individual; that “If a man fears God he will not, nor needs not to fear anything else”.

The Psalm above shows us a bit of that thought.  The one who fears the LORD the LORD will teach him in the way he chooses.  When we fear God we will choose the right way, the right things, the godly things and God will bless them.

To dwell at ease does not mean there will be no problems; but that even in the midst of our problems we will be at ease knowing it is in the hands of our Lord.  The choices the righteous make, or the ones God makes in their lives will be a blessing even to their heirs.

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we read –

Him that feareth the Lord he will teach in the way that he shall choose, either in the way that God shall choose or that the good man shall choose. It comes all to one, for he that fears the Lord chooses the things that please him. If we choose the right way, he that directed our choice will direct our steps, and will lead us in it. If we choose wisely, God will give us grace to walk wisely.
2. That God will make them easy (v. 13): His soul shall dwell at ease, shall lodge in goodness, marg. Those that devote themselves to the fear of God, and give themselves to be taught of God, will be easy, if it be not their own fault. The soul that is sanctified by the grace of God, and, much more, that is comforted by the peace of God, dwells at ease. Even when the body is sick and lies in pain, yet the soul may dwell at ease in God, may return to him, and repose in him as its rest. Many things occur to make us uneasy, but there is enough in the covenant of grace to counterbalance them all and to make us easy.
3. That he will give to them and theirs as much of this world as is good for them: His seed shall inherit the earth. Next to our care concerning our souls is our care concerning our seed, and God has a blessing in store for the generation of the upright. Those that fear God shall inherit the earth, shall have a competency in it and the comfort of it, and their children shall fare the better for their prayers when they are gone.

There are many things in this world to fear.  You can find them, even without looking; but if you will trust the LORD you can face those fears, by knowing that all is in His hands.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm 80:1

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

“The psalmist here, in the name of the church, applies to God by prayer, with reference to the present afflicted state of Israel.
I. He entreats God’s favour for them (v. 1, 2); that is all in all to the sanctuary when it is desolate, and is to be sought in the first place. Observe, 1. How he eyes God in his address as the Shepherd of Israel, whom he had called the sheep of his pasture (Ps. 79:13), under whose guidance and care Israel was, as the sheep are under the care and conduct of the shepherd. Christ is the great and good Shepherd, to whom we may in faith commit the custody of his sheep that were given to him. He leads Joseph like a flock, to the best pastures, and out of the way of danger; if Joseph follow him not as obsequiously as the sheep do the shepherd, it is his own fault. He dwells between the cherubim, where he is ready to receive petitions and to give directions. The mercy-seat was between the cherubim; and it is very comfortable in prayer to look up to God as sitting on a throne of grace, and that it is so to us is owning to the great propitiation, for the mercy-seat was the propitiatory.”  From Matthew Henry Commentary

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Morning with Spurgeon 072911

The following is the morning devotion by Charles Spurgeon from Morning and Evening:

Psalm 73:23

Nevertheless I am continually with Thee.

    “Nevertheless,”-As if, notwithstanding all the foolishness and ignorance which David had just been confessing to God, not one atom the less was it true and certain that David was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of being constantly in God’s presence was undoubtedly his. Fully conscious of his own lost estate, and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his nature, yet, by a glorious outburst of faith, he sings “nevertheless I am continually with Thee.” Believer, you are forced to enter into Asaph’s confession and acknowledgment, endeavour in like spirit to say “nevertheless, since I belong to Christ I am continually with God!” By this is meant continually upon His mind, He is always thinking of me for my good. Continually before His eye;-the eye of the Lord never sleepeth, but is perpetually watching over my welfare. Continually in His hand, so that none shall be able to pluck me thence. Continually on His heart, worn there as a memorial, even as the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes upon his heart for ever. Thou always thinkest of me, O God. The bowels of Thy love continually yearn towards me. Thou art always making providence work for my good. Thou hast set me as a signet upon thine arm; thy love is strong as death, many waters cannot quench it; neither can the floods drown it. Surprising grace! Thou seest me in Christ, and though in myself abhorred, Thou beholdest me as wearing Christ’s garments, and washed in His blood, and thus I stand accepted in Thy presence. I am thus continually in Thy favour-“continually with Thee.” Here is comfort for the tried and afflicted soul; vexed with the tempest within-look at the calm without. “Nevertheless”-O say it in thy heart, and take the peace it gives. “Nevertheless I am continually with Thee.”

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

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

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

Power On Their Lives – Mark 16:15-20

“And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”  Mark 16:15-20

Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and it is longer and more detailed in its application there.  Here, however, we have a simple “Go and preach the gospel to every creature”, and then, what follows are signs, evidence that they are servants of God.  Because of the newness of this message of grace, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, there must of necessity have been proofs of their words being true.  The gospel is true and powerful to save, but the Scriptures [New Testament] had not yet even started to be written.  Today, we have the completed Scriptures [Old and New Testaments], and we no longer need evidence of the power of the gospel to save.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” seems like a salvation of works, but any one who comes believing in Jesus will in obedience follow the Lord in water baptism.  It is the “Public confession” of one’s faith in Jesus.   When a person comes to faith in Jesus they have a desire to obey Him in all things.  The first step of obedience, and the believer’s first call is a public testimony, and that is shown in baptism.  Baptism is the testimony of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, and by baptism you tell the world of your faith in Jesus and that you have died to the old life, been buried putting it all away, and have risen to new life in Him.

According to the apostle John in the gospel he wrote, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).  You could  ask the question, a fearful question, “What does one have to do to go to Hell?  The answer to that is absolutely nothing.  You can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus, His finished work on the cross and the resurrection, and enjoy the glory of Jesus for all eternity.  You can do absolutely nothing and spend eternity in Hell.  The truth of the matter is we are all condemned, dying, hellbound sinners.  We are born in that condition – separated from God, hating God, loving ourselves, and seeking our own way, and not God’s way.  There are some who believe that once this life is over that is it.  There are even some professing Christians who believe only the saved will have an “Eternal life” while those who do not know God through His Son Jesus will simply go back to the dust, and their “spirits” will cease to exist.  Part of the way that God created us in His image is that He gave us an eternal soul and spirit.  Not “Eternal” in the sense that He is; like “Eternal past”, but an eternal future, and our eternity with Christ actually begins with our faith in Him.  The condemned person’s eternity without Christ begins at the death of the physical body, and it will be an eternity without light, without friends, without satisfaction of desires.  It will be an eternity of torment, or flames, heat, no water, nothing to quench your thirst.  It will be a place without God’s love, only wrath.

These were signs of authentication.  They were evidence of the power of God to save those who believe, and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  The first sign Jesus gives is the power to “…Cast out devils [demons]”.  There is evidence of this in Acts with a young girl who is “demon possessed”, and brings great profit to her owner, because she can “Foretell” the future.  Paul was bitten by a poisonous serpent, and without harm (Acts 28).  The apostles Peter and John, on their way to the temple, meet a man who is lame, and by their words, “Rise up and walk” he gets up and walks (Acts 3).  Paul raises a young man named Eutychus from death (Acts 20).  There are many accounts in the book of Acts of the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of the apostles, doing miracles, signs and wonders, to confirm the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the Gospel which is being promoted not the miracles, and we must always remember that.

The changed lives of millions through the years is evidence of the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Men and women who have had hate filled, murderous hearts are changed into loving, compassionate, caring individuals who reach out to others with the truth of Christ.  Men and women who have selfishly stolen from others through greed, lust, and larceny are changed into giving, unselfish individuals who love Christ and have given their all for Him.

One sign of the resurrection of Jesus is His ascension into Heaven to His Father’s right hand.  The apostles all witnessed it.  Peter, James and John, Matthew, and all the rest, except Paul for he had not yet come to faith in Jesus.  Jesus fulfilled all the Scriptures concerning the things concerning Himself and His first coming, and He will fulfill all the things concerning His Second coming.

The disciples/apostles were the ones who are responsible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the beginning of the Church – the Body of Christ.  Without the Holy Spirit confirming their word, there would be no church.

Can we go out in the same power of the Spirit that they did?  Most certainly, and now we have something much better than miracles, signs and wonders.  We have God’s Spirit confirming His written Word.  It is finished.  There is no more being added to it, and anyone that does add to it or take away from it will find the curses of His Word in their lives (Rev. 22:18-19).

There is nothing impossible to those who walk in the Spirit of God.  Praying for the power of the Spirit on Christian lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Morning Devotion from C. H. Spurgeon

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

Romans 14:8
We live unto the Lord.

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

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

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

T.A.

Beauty is a Fading Flower

Chapter 28 of Isaiah the prophet begins a series of “Woe” against Israel and Judah, Jerusalem; and within these woes are also promises, encouragements to lead them back to YaHWeH the Eternal, Self-Sufficient One who called them to Himself.

The Northern kingdom called Ephraim in our text was prideful and fell.  The “Woe” is warning Judah of her fall should she fail to repent and turn again to the LORD.  The problem with Judah was they were putting more faith in the power of politics, and the politicians of their day than in the LORD, thus were failing to heed God’s leadership.  Just as Israel’s pride brought them down so too would the pride of Judah bring them down; like the beauty of the fading flower.

“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!  Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.  The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: and the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.  In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.” Isaiah 28:1-6 (KJV)

Ephraim had a problem with parties, drinking inebriating drinks, and their leaders all conspiring to do the same.  Their judges, priests and others; along with their prophets in drunkenness (v. 7); making rule and law in their soberless state of mind.  Is it much different in today’s USA?  Not at all.  Warren Wiersbe quotes a U.S. government official in his book on Isaiah “Be Comforted”  as having said,

“We have three  parties in this city [Washington D. C.]: the Democratic party, the Republican party, and the cocktail party.”

I don’t doubt that to be true.  I wonder how many of our leaders go into their Congressional sessions, Senate sessions, and even investigations under the influence of alcohol?  Is it any wonder that our nation is in the bankrupt condition it is in.  The beauty of the United States and her glory is quickly fading and will continue until the Lord Jesus returns or their is revival in the land.

In verse sixteen we read,

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”

When God’s people are resting upon the LORD, trusting in Him there will be no need to fear or flee from what is coming into the world, or a nation.  Our hope, our only hope is in the LORD.  It is not in returning to new tax structures, political ideologies, or even only to making right laws.  We need to return to the fear of the LORD, and set our hearts on Him alone.

The LORD has said, “I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation…” and that is not just an Old Testament thought, but one of Paul the apostle’s writings as well (Romans 9:33).  That Stone was rejected, tried, beaten, mocked, and finally hung on a brutal cross where He bled and died for the sins of the world.

In verse 21 God says He will do a “strange work”.

“For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.”

Just what is this “Strange work”, “Strange act”?  It appears to be that God will allow His people’s own sin to be their judgment.  Even the prophet Jeremiah says,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee…” Jeremiah 2:19a

Maybe like your mother letting you gorge yourself on that jar full of cookies, after telling you two or three times, “Only one!”, and then you end up feeling deathly ill, throwing up, and in bed the rest of the day.  Moses said, “Be sure  your sins will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

One thing we can be assured of, and that is that God does His work; His strange work, His strange act in the order it should be in.  That is the prophet’s message in verses 23 – 29;

“Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?  When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?  For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.  For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.  Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.  This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.”

Isaiah uses the illustration of the farmer plowing and sowing seeds.  It is done in an orderly manner.  The ground is plowed and prepared then each type of seed is sown according to its own fashion.  The fitches and cummin [seeds for condiment purposes] are scattered or broadcasted around on the ground.  Wheat and barley are sown in  rows.  They are all threshed in different fashion as well.  Some of the harvest grains are threshed by beating, some are rolled with a crushing wheel.  I hope you see the picture.

God’s judgment will not always be the same for everyone.  It will, however, come due, and there will be judgment according to God’s own grace and mercy.  Remember that the judgment we are talking about is not on the world, but upon God’s own people.  Peter the apostle wrote,

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV)

Isaiah’s warning Israel and Judah is also a warning to those who are Christians.  Get right with God, and be right with God always.  Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  Love Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Vineyard of Red Wine

The title above comes from verse two of Isaiah 27.  It is a far cry from the verses of chapter five of the prophet.  A vineyard in chaos, worthy of destruction, and to grow without care and protection from its owner.

“In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.” Isaiah 27:2 (KJV)

I know nothing of the flavor of “red wine”, but I have drank the sweet flavorful juice of the red grape, and it is fabulous.  That is what the LORD and the prophet Isaiah is telling us.  No more will Israel be judged, but, rather she will be fruitful, flavorful, and sweet.  She will blossom as a rose and her enemies will be put away.

The LORD says, “I will keep it night and day” (v. 3).  Then to leave no doubt of whom He is speaking He says,

“He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.”  Isaiah 27:6

Through the many years Israel has departed from the LORD and through those many years God has chastised them, and continues to chastise them.  God is working in the nation to bring them to the place where they will love Him, and He will prosper them greatly; just as He has promised for all these years.  Not one word of God will fall, or fail.

“Hath He smitten him, as He smote those that smote him? or is He slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by Him?  In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.   By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”  Isaiah 27:7-9

The LORD will not have mercy on those who had or have no mercy on the people of Israel.  He will show them no favor (v. 11).  There will be no grace [favor of God] toward those who have rejected Him and His people.  When will this come to pass.  I don’t know.  I believe it will be soon; and by that I don’t mean tomorrow or even next year; but within the years of God’s own timing.

In that time all God’s people of Israel will gather to worship their Messiah around the throne in Jerusalem;

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”  Isaiah 27:12-13

One of the things that Christians and unbelievers can learn from this is that God will carry through with His promises.  Not one word shall fall to the ground.  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).  Rest assured Christian.  Repent and believe unbeliever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Samuel – The Ark of God is Taken

042911

The new Nation of Israel was a moral mess.  Its spiritual leadership was the main culprit.  They believed God to be in a box which they had carried through the wilderness for many years until they arrived at the Promised Land.

You know as long as you have God in a box you can live however you choose; believe whatever you choose; ask “God” whatever you choose.  He must answer to you.  Right?  That assumption is entirely WRONG.  It is not only a lie of evil and Satan; it is absolutely wrong.

“And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen.  And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.”  1 Samuel 4:10-11 (KJV)

In the text above Israel has been at war with the Philistines, and is losing the war; they send for the box; the one they have “God” in; believing that if the box (the ark of the covenant) is in their midst, then they cannot help but win the battle and the war.

This is a case of much assumption.  Yes! the ark is holy, and it does signify the presence, power and glory of God.  It is not, however, a rabbits foot, a magic wand, a wishing well, or an object of worship.

The question could be and should be asked, “Why did God allow the ark of the covenant to be taken, and Israel to be defeated?”  There are many answers.  I will give two.

  1. The spiritual leadership of Israel was in default.  Hophni and Phineas were being unjust in their dealings with the people and especially the women (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22), and Eli their father did nothing about it; but tolerated their wicked behavior.
  2. It would greatly appear they had the wrong view of God.  They believed Him to be in their “box”, and that by having the “box” with them they could ask anything, do anything, and have any victory they desired.  This proved to be fatally, and unmistakably wrong.  The evidence is in the fact that the ark of God was taken, Hophni and Phineas, are dead, and Eli even dies upon hearing the news of the arks being taken (4:18).  Ichabod is also born in the defeat.

There is and can be only victory when the children of God are obedient to our Master, and live doing His will.  That was the heart and will of Jesus (John 5:19, 30).

God is not at our disposal to ask a petition of Him; no matter how we live our lives; or just in the time of trouble and trials.  Those who know Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ know Him to be faithful, however, we also know that we too are to be faithful as His slaves.  He is to be trusted, believed, obeyed; and even when we feel – and let me emphasize “FEEL” – He is not near, or does not hear.

No Christian has power over God.  No individual has power over God.  When we think we rule; GOD will overrule.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Acts – 042711

There has not been much posted here on Acts, but I do want to end with one observation as we look at verses 22 – 24 of chapter 28;

“But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.”  Acts 27:22-24 (KJV)

Paul the apostle is in Rome about to be tried for the charges his own people have brought against him.  He has been charged with saying things against them, and supposedly against their God; in blasphemy.  Rather than speaking against their God he has spoken plainly, using the Old Testament scriptures they adhered to and proclaiming Jesus Christ their Messiah.

The word “sect” was used, most likely, as a derogatory term meaning that the teaching of Christianity was heretical and was worthy of judgment.  Paul took time with those who came to him expounding the Word of God, and preaching the kingdom of God, persuading some to believe and follow Jesus Christ.

We have the testimony here that “some believed”, and “some believed not” and that is pretty much how things are in our time; as every other time since Paul.

If you will believe the gospel of Jesus Christ then, you will have the assurance of eternity with Him.  If you reject Jesus and His gospel, then you will die and eternal death.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Acts – 041811

Just one short observation.

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, ‘Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’  And He said unto them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’  And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.'”  Acts 1:6-11 (KJV)

The remaining disciples of Jesus, following His resurrection have gone with Him to the Mount of Olives.  He is about to be “taken up” from them; and in their sight.  They ask Him, “Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”  His answer was, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons,which the Father hath put in His own power.”

They asked about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.  Jesus did not say that it would not happen, but that they would not know the time or the season it would happen.  In the mean time Jesus has given them and us power to be witnesses in our homes, our communities, States, and the nations of the world to tell them of the glories of Jesus Christ.

When will Israel be restored?  We don’t know.  God knows.  Let’s believe Him, and not the opinions and philosophies of men.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Judges – 041111

The book of Judges is about the grace of God toward Israel.  They have come into the Promised Land which was given them by GOD, with instructions and laws to follow and to be obedient.  As long as they obey God’s commandments they will be prosperous and own the land, but they begin to practice worshipping other god’s; the gods of the surrounding people, whom they are supposed to drive out and destroy.  This is part of their disobedience.

GOD is longsuffering and merciful.  We find these words in chapter six,

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.'”  Judges 6:7-10 (KJV)

One thing we can observe in Judges and throughout the whole of the Old Testament is that God sends His prophets before He sends judgment.  The prophet Amos spoke by the leadership of God’s Spirit saying,

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7

We can rest assured that before God does anything He sends His preachers to warn and instruct of what is going to come.  For Israel in that day it was “fear not the gods of the Amorites…” but they did not obey.  The people had cried out to the LORD, and He sent a prophet.

Not only that the LORD Himself came down as we read in verses 11-23.

The Lord Himself has came down, in the person of His only Son, given His life on the cross, was raised from death, hell and the grave; and by Him we have eternal life.

Believe Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus Helped; Scripture Fulfilled

“And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.”  Mark 15:21-36 (KJV)

After Jesus had been beaten with the “Cat o nine tails”, and stricken by the hands of His mockers and accusers Jesus would have been very weak physically.  As they took Jesus on “The way of suffering” called “Via Delorosa” He may have stumbled from the weakness and they compelled one Simon from Cyrene to carry the cross, or help Him carry it.  This wooden cross would have been heavy to bear even for a man who had not lost much blood, as Jesus had.  This Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.  This Rufus is probably the Rufus mentioned in the book of Romans, “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

(Rom 16:13)”.  It is quite possible that because of this experience the man Simon and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus, became followers of Jesus.  Simon was a help to Jesus and Jesus was certainly a help to Simon and his family.

They offered Jesus a “Wine mixed with myrrh to drink”, but He refused it.  It was a drink that would have dulled His senses, and numbed His pain.  Jesus’ choice of love was to endure the pain with all His senses about Him, and to suffer the full pain and retribution of sin, as His Father judged the sin of the world.  Refusing the drink, He would still be able to communicate with His Father, and not sin.

The third “Help” does not seem much like help for Jesus.  They actually were helping themselves to the garments which Jesus wore.  It would take an awfully cold, calloused heart to set at the foot of a cross and gamble for the garments of a condemned man, be he innocent or guilty.  Here these men were playing a game at the feet of an innocent, sinless, guiltless man, and seemingly with no remorse, or shame.  My, how there is varied instance of people’s responses to the death of Jesus.  Some are cold and callous, some are weeping, some are running away, some are just political, and some bow and call Him, Lord.

The time would have been 9 a.m. when the crucifixion took place.  Pilate had a placcard written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, “The King of the Jews”.  John writes, “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews” (John 19:19).
According to John’s Gospel the “chief priests of the Jews” did not like the words, they believed it should say, that He said, “I am king of the Jews”.  Pilate stood his ground and said, “What I have written I have written.”
One of the things Jesus was sure of, and committed to was the “Fulfillment of Scripture”.  Here we have another fulfillment of the Scriptures. “He was numbered with the transgressors” –

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.   Isaiah 53:12 (KJV)”.

There were three men hung on the tree that day- two thieves and the One who gives life to all who trust in Him.  There is a song with the chorus that says, “The one on the left, he was a sinner, the one on the right was too, but the man in the middle He was the Savior, and He died just to save me and you.”  We know from Scripture that one of these theives put his trust in Jesus (Luke 23:39-43).

The people who passed by the cross where Jesus was spoke in blasphemous, defaming, reviling words.  They mocked His precious words in which He spoke of rising from the dead – “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it once again”.  They commented about “Save Thyself and come down from the cross…”  How could Jesus pay the sin debt of the world if He came down from the cross.   On the cross, Jesus was doing the greatest work He came to do.  He came to minister and give His life a ransom for many (10:45).   His greatest work was to glorify the Father, and He did that by completing the task which was given Him.  To die on the cross was the glory of the heavenly Father, and made it possible that wicked, sinful, blemished, spotted man might be reconciled to Him.  If they had known what they were asking they would not have asked.  Knowing what I know of this today, my question would be, “How could You do that for me?”

Likewise the “chief priests” were demanding that if He was indeed the Son of God, “Save yourself” and “…that we may see and believe”.  They had seen the mighty works which He had done.  They still would not believe, and because of that, and because they would not believe their scriptures, they would not believe though He arose from the dead.

There was a period of darkness over the land.  My personal belief is that this darkness was more than just a local phenomonen.  It was worldwide.  The main and maybe only reason I believe that is, that, the reason Jesus died was for the sins of the world, thus the whole world would, most likely, have gone into this great darkness.  It was a spiritual darkness unlike anything the world had ever seen.  It was a total darkness.  It lasted for three hours while Jesus suffered the wrath and judgment of the Father for sin – our sin.  It was the darkest and most dreaded day of Jesus’ life.  “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me” was His cry after the judgment had been made.  The Father had turned His back on His Son, because He had been made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).

Some who were standing there thought Jesus was calling for Elijah to come and rescue Him from the cross.  One ran to get a sponge full of vinegar which Jesus now receives (John 19:30).  His work was finished.  There was no more for Him to do for the atonement of sin.  I am so thankful that He was not calling for Elijah to come and remove Him from the cross, though I know He would have used other means.  He could have called thousands of angels to come to His aid.  He could have spoken a word, and it would have all been over.  He could have called to the Father, “I cannot bear it”, but He bore it for you and for me.  If He had not bourne it for us we would be forever doomed to eternal torment.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Joshua – 040311

Joshua can be seen as a christ like figure of the Old Testament.  Oshea son of Nun had his name changed to Joshua (Numbers 12:8, 16).  From “deliverer” to “Jehovah saves”.

Joshua, following the crossing of the Jordan River on dry ground, spending seven days marching around the city of Jericho – one time around for 6 days, and seven times around on the 7th day – and conquering the city has an encounter with the Lord Himself.

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a Man over against him with His sword drawn in His hand: and Joshua went unto Him, and said unto Him, ‘Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries?’  And He said, ‘Nay; but as Captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.’  And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, ‘What saith my Lord unto His servant?  And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, ‘Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”  Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)

How can we know that this Man which Joshua encountered was God and not an angel?  One of the clearest things which stands out is that Joshua bowed in worship, and was not corrected.  Every time we find in Scripture a man bowing in worship to an angel we find the angel correcting the man (Revelation 22:8-9).  This Man did not correct Joshua.  Another is that when Joshua asked, “What saith my Lord unto His servant?” the Hebrew word for  “Lord” is “Adon” which is a name for our God.

Joshua has an amazing encounter with the Lord of hosts, Captain, Commander of the hosts of the LORD.  This should give us great cause for rejoicing.  Knowing that our Lord is leading the army of Heaven as we battle our adversary each and every day.  Our adversary is the devil, not our fellow man.

Follow Jesus.  Believe Him.  Trust Him and you will live with Him forever.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From John – 033011

Please remember that the gospel of John is pictured in Ezekiel 1 as the eagle in the face of the Living creature, and the flying eagle in the Revelation 4:7.  These show forth a symbolic picture of the deity of our Lord.  John’s writing of Jesus is clearly that Jesus as the Son of God is God.

In the thirteenth chapter of John’s gospel we have the event of the Lord’s Supper, and this is what I have observed;

“He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.  After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.  Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, dost thou wash my feet?’  Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.’  Peter saith unto Him, ‘Thou shalt never wash my feet.’  Jesus answered him, ‘If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.’  Simon Peter saith unto Him, ‘Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.’  Jesus saith to him, ‘He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.'” John 13:4-10 (KJV)

There is much to see here, however there is one observation and truth I want you to see; and that is that God came down to heaven in the form of a man [Jesus Christ], and then stooped even further to wash His disciples feet.  To me that is a really big thing, and says a whole lot about us as the human race.

The beauty of it is in the Son stooping to serve, and wash the feet.

When was the last time I stooped to serve another in like fashion?  How about you?

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

What will ye then that I shall do unto Him…?

“And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked Him, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ And He answering said unto him, ‘Thou sayest it.’ 3 And the chief priests accused Him of many things: but He answered nothing. 4 And Pilate asked Him again, saying, ‘Answerest Thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against Thee.’ 5 But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. 6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, ‘Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?’ 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, ‘What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews?’ 13 And they cried out again, ‘Crucify Him.’ 14 Then Pilate said unto them, ‘Why, what evil hath He done?’ And they cried out the more exceedingly, ‘Crucify Him.’
15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified. 16 And the soldiers led Him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.  17 And they clothed Him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about His head, 18 And began to salute Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ 19 And they smote Him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshipped Him. 20 And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.”  Mark 15:1-20 (KJV)

Due to the  fact that Israel was not a free country, but was under Roman rule, they had lost their authority to put anyone to death.  Therefore, they must take Jesus to the Roman governor, who is Pilate.  The religious leaders had found Jesus guilty of blasphemy.  The charge was actually that He had said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again”.

God is on trial before humanity, but who is really the condemned here?  Who are the guilty ones?  Why is an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man being sentenced to death?  To answer those questions – The one’s who are pronouncing death to Jesus.  That answers the first two questions.  To answer the final one – Because only the death of an innocent, guiltless, sinless, spotless, and blemishless man can atone for sin before holy God, and Jesus fit the bill.  It was guilty, sinful, spotted, blemished mankind that condemned Him, but it was for those who condemned Him that He died for the real condemned.

Pilate knows Jesus to be innocent of the charge brought against Him, and that the charge has only been brought  due to “envy” (v. 10).  Due to the pressure from the people, though, Pilate offers a choice between a murderer [Barabbas], and Jesus.  Because of the conspiracy of the religious leaders the people and the priests choose Barabbas (v. 11).  When the people cried out for Barabbas Pilate asked, “What shall I do with Jesus, whom you call, ‘King of the Jews?”  Their answer to that was, “Crucify Him.”

What a horrible way for a man to die.  What an awfully horrible way for the God/Man to die who was not guilty of any sin or wrong doing.  Yet, it was determined in the foreknowledge of God, from the foundation of the world, that the Godly should die for the ungodly; the Righteous should die for the unrighteous; the Just should die for the unjust; that the Sinless should die for the sinful.  “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”  1 Peter 1:17-21

The hands of sinful men striking the sinless Son of God.  The thorns of a tree representing the wages of sin placed on Jesus’ head and mocking Him as king.  The words of men against the Living Word of God, condemning Him to die a cruel, cursing death.  It is a “Cursing death” because the Scriptures say, “(For he that is hanged is accursed of God;)” (Deut.21:23;  Gal. 3:13).

What will you do with Jesus?  Will you just account Him as a good man, a good teacher, a good example; or maybe a work of fiction?  Your indecision about Jesus has eternal consequences as well as the wrong decision.  No decision is your decision.  Choose Jesus as the God-Man who died for your sins, was buried carrying your sin away, and rose bodily from the grave and eternally lives.  Trust Him with your life, and you too can live with Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032111

When I was a boy I spent many days and hours digging for treasure.  I had all kinds of holes dug in the ground around our house, in the pastures, the cedar glades, or wherever there was a place I thought that there could be treasure.  I did this probably when I was 8 – 10 years of age.

All the time I had a treasure I didn’t see, and that was my family, my parents and siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins.  Later on I received a treasure that I have to this day, and will have it through all eternity, and that treasure is the treasure of Jesus Christ in my heart, my life, my inner most being; eternal life with God and Him who died for me.  That is the greatest treasure.

Jesus said in Luke 12:34;

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Now there is not a thing wrong with desiring treasure.  You will notice though that the verse does not say “Where your heart is, there will your treasure be also”, and that is what many of us probably think.  That is not what Jesus says though.

We already have a treasure.  Defining our treasure is a key to being at peace; recognizing our treasure.

I knew a couple several years ago who built a new house; they gave a great testimony of loving Jesus Christ, being great givers, and being church people.  For a while after building their house they  became somewhat frightened or nervous about leaving their home at night.  They were worried that someone might break into their house, and either steal some of their new things or vandalize the house.  In their hearts, at least for awhile their treasure was in that new house; and they were not at all at peace.

Where is your treasure?  If it is truly in Christ Jesus, then you will be at peace, and fear nothing.

“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Luke – 032011

There are a lot of comments of Jesus’s coming as a babe in a manger, living as a man without sin, and that He came to be an example to us of how we should live.  Some say he came to perform many and mighty miracles.  He did do those things, but they were not why He came.

Looking at what Luke writes in chapter nine,

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.  And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.”  Luke 9:51-53 (KJV)

We can know why Jesus came by what He says in the gospel of John, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  He came because He loved us and was willing to go to Jerusalem, and die on a cruel, rugged, Roman cross for the sins of mankind, as the Lamb of God.

As we look at the above Scripture we see stated that, “When the time was come that He should be received up…”  He had a determination to go to Jerusalem.  From very early in His ministry He knew He must be about what He came to do, and that was His Father’s business (Luke 2:49).  Jerusalem and the cross was the Father’s business.

Would to God we would obey the Father’s will, and did His business as Jesus our Lord has done.  He now sits honored and glorified at the Father’s right hand.

Follow Jesus, believe Him and be delivered from sin, its condemnation and death; and live eternally in the presence of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship