The Light of Israel

“And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; and shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth.  And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them.” Isaiah 10:17-19 (KJB)

In this reading I want us to remember that the Light of the world is Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son,

These words of Isaiah were spoken by God to him of the judgment God was bringing on the nation He was using to judge His own people because they had turned from the LORD God. This judgment is against Assyria whose ruler thought he was in charge, he  was no one’s servant, that he was so powerful he had done all the conquering on his own.  God was set to show him other wise.

The judgment of God is always for the cleansing of His people.

I am going to close with the words of the Matthew Henry Commentary…

“How this destruction is represented. It shall be, First, As a consumption of the body by a disease: The Lord shall send leanness among his fatnesses, or his fat ones. His numerous army, that was like a body covered with fatness, shall be diminished, and waste away, and become like a skeleton. Secondly, As a consumption of buildings, or trees and bushes, by fire: Under his glory, that very thing which he glories in, he will kindle a burning, as the burning of a fire, which shall lay his army in ruins as suddenly as a raging fire lays a stately house in ashes. Some make it an allusion to the fire kindled under the sacrifices; for proud sinners fall as sacrifices to divine justice. Observe, 1. How this fire shall be kindled, Isa_10:17. The same God that is a rejoicing light to those that serve him faithfully will be a consuming fire to those that trifle with him or rebel against him. The light of Israel shall be for a fire to the Assyrians, as the same pillar of cloud was a light to the Israelites and a terror to the Egyptians in the Red Sea. What can oppose, what can extinguish, such a fire? 2. What desolation it shall make: it shall burn and devour its thorns and briers, his officers and soldiers, which are of little worth, and vexations to God’s Israel, as thorns and briers, whose end is to be burned, and which are easily and quickly consumed by a devouring fire. “Who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? They would be so far from stopping the fire that they would inflame it.

I would go through them and burn them together (Isa_27:4); they shall be devoured in one day, all cut off in an instant.” When they cried not only Peace and safety, but Victory and triumph, then sudden destruction came; it came surprisingly, and was completed in a little time. “Even the glory of his forest (Isa_10:18), the choice troops of his army, the veterans, the troops of the household, the bravest regiments he had, that he was most proud of and depended most upon, that he valued as men do their timber-trees (the glory of their forest) or their fruit-trees (the glory of the Carmel), shall be put as briers and thorns before the fire; they shall be consumed both soul and body, entirely consumed, not only a limb burned, but life taken away.” Note, God is able to destroy both soul and body, and therefore we should fear him more than man, who can but kill the body. Great armies before him are but as great woods, which he can fell or fire when he pleases.

[3.] What would be the effect of this great slaughter. The prophet tells us, First, That the army would hereby be reduced to a very small number: The rest of the trees of his forest shall be few; very few shall escape the sword of the destroying angel, so few that th ere needs no artist, no muster-master or secretary of war, to take an account of them, for even a child may soon reckon the numbers of them, and write the names of them. Secondly, That those few who remained should be quite dispirited: They shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. When he either falls or flees, and his colours are taken by the enemy, this discourages the whole army, and puts them all into confusion. Upon the whole matter we must say, Who is able to stand before this great and holy Lord God?”  MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

Turn to Jesus Christ the Light of the world.  Without Him there is no light.  He died for you, He was buried, and He rose again; and He forever lives and hears us when we pray trusting Him.

The Law and The Testimony

“And when they shall say unto you, ‘Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter:’ should not a people seek unto their God for the living to the dead?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.” Isaiah 8:19-22 (KJB)

Rather than writing more on these verses follow the following links to previous post I have shared…
Seek GOD and His Word
In Darkness; There is Light

The Man That Makes the LORD His Trust

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  And He hath put a new song in my mouth, praise unto our God: many shall see and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”  Psalm 40:1-4  (KJB)

The LORD does indeed lift us, picks us up, out of the miry clay, the pit of sin, and sets our feet upon a rock; the Rock is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4).

The way of sin is darkness, and cold. O, it may seem like the way to go at the time; it may seem like it is the comfortable thing; it may seem to be pleasurable, but it leads to shame, pain, misery, and death.  Be an instrument of praise to the LORD God.  Call on the name of the Lord and be delivered from that pit to which you are imprisoned.

Let me share with you the thoughts of Charles Spurgeon from the Treasury of David on verse four…

“Blessed.” This is an exclamation similar to that of thePsa_1:1-6, “Oh, the happiness of the man.” God’s blessings are emphatic, “I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed,” indeed and in very truth. “Is that man that maketh the Lord his trust.” Faith obtaineth promises. A simple, single-eyed confidence in God is the sure mark of blessedness. A man may be as poor as Lazarus, as hated as Mordecai, as sick as Hezekiah, as lonely as Elijah, but while his hand of faith can keep its hold on God, none of his outward afflictions can prevent his being numbered among the blessed but the wealthiest and most prosperous man who has no faith is accursed, be he who he may. “And respecteth not the proud.” The proud expect all men to bow down and do them reverence, as if the worship of the golden calves were again set up in Israel; but believing mean are too noble to honour mere money-bags, or cringe before bombastic dignity. The righteous pay their respect to humble goodness, rather than to inflated self-consequence. Our Lord Jesus was in this our bright example. No flattery of kings and great ones ever fell from his lips; he gave no honour to dishonourable men. The haughty were never his favourites. “Nor such as turn aside to lies.” Heresies and idolatries are lies, and so are avarice, worldliness, and pleasure-seeking. Woe to those who follow such deceptions. Our Lord was ever both the truth and the lover of truth, and the father of lies had no part in him. We must never pay deference to apostates, time-servers, and false teachers; they are an ill leaven, and the more we purge ourselves of them the better; they are blessed whom God preserves from all error in creed and practice. Judged by this verse, many apparently happy persons must be the reverse of blessed, for anything in the shape of a purse, a fine equipage, or a wealthy establishment, commands their reverence, whether the owner be a rake or a saint, an idiot or a philosopher. Verily, were the arch-fiend of hell to start a carriage and pair, and live like a lord, he would have thousands who would court his acquaintance.  TREASURY OF DAVID, by Charles Spurgeon verse 4

When We Walk in the Light

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”  1 John 1:1-10

 

REFERENCES:  John 1:1, 9; 17:21; Acts 2:32; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Kings 8:46; Proverbs 20:9; James 3:2; Psalm 32:5

On this Friday which Christians are remembering the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior let us also focus on the fact that in His suffering He won the victory over the devil whose head was crushed that day.  The victories of the cross are expressed in those seven sayings of Christ as He suffered, bled, and died.  He asked the Father to forgive us;  He told the thief “Today you will be with me in paradise; He cared for His mother;  He experienced the hell that should have been ours in the forsaking of His Father and God;  He finished the work He came to do; and lastly, He committed His spirit back to the Father.  His dying on the cross was the greatest of victories.

The devil was defeated His doom is sure.  The resurrection three days later was the proof and evidence of what took place – the victory – on Calvary.

Praise the LORD Jesus is risen.  He is alive.

The Word Was God

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:1-5  (KJB)

Why is there such a concerted effort by some to disavow the truth of Scripture that Jesus is God incarnate, God in the flesh?  It is stated clearly in the first fourteen verses of John chapter one.

Jesus Christ is the word that became flesh, and dwelt among us.

One reason I think that certain organizations of religion try to argue against His deity; or to be more clear on it; co-equal with the Father, is that they have a doctrine of their own to protect.  That is why they constantly are changing their own translation of the Bible, and the verses which clearly testify of Christ true identity, and relationship to the Father, to read in a way that makes Jesus deity, but not co-equal with Him.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Son of Man, who is God the Son.  Scripture, untwisted by man, constantly unveils the truth that Jesus Christ is indeed Deity alongside, equal with the Father [YHWH].

Access to Heaven Gained

“And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 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?’ And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, ‘Behold, he calleth Elias.’ 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.’ And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”  Mark 15:33-39 (KJB)

For three hours Jesus experienced the darkest time of His life as a Man.  He spent it separated from His Father. Up to this point when He spoke to the Father He always called Him “Father”; in this prayer, an exact quotation from Psalm 22, Jesus calls Him “My God”, asking why He has been forsaken.

Jesus had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and had just been judged for the sins of the world.

When Jesus cried and gave up His spirit to the Father we are told that “…the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom”.  That tells us no man tore the veil which separated the Holy place in the temple from the Holy of Holies, the place where the ark of the covenant would be placed had it been present.  The tearing of the veil by God shows that through the death of Jesus all of Adam kind now has access to God and Heaven.

Access to God is only gained through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son.

The Light That Shines

The Light That Shines

Matthew 4:1-25

Jesus never declared Himself to be King. It is decreed by scripture that there would be a King to always sit upon the throne of David. Jesus is often called the Son of David, and that means He is the One to sit on the throne.

As the king He is the Light. As the Light He even calls us the Light. We will see in the fourteenth through the sixteenth verses that Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Light that would break the darkness of Zabulon and Nephthalim. That Light shines still today around the world in the lives of His people.

I. THE LIGHT IS VICTORIOUS OVER THE DARKNESS IN HIS TEMPTATIONS (vv. 1-11)

A. Following His baptism Jesus was “led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (v. 1)

1. This was a testing of His being, and to strengthen Him in Spirit.
2. His faith must be tested in order to be obedient to the Father — “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Heb. 5:8 (KJV).

B. The first temptation was concerning His desire and, ours to Survive.

1. “If you are the Son of God”
2. “Turn these stones to bread”
3. Survival sometimes tempts us to take shortcuts around what is right, good, godly and best.
4. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”

C. The second temptation was concerning His desire, ours to be Secure.

1. The devil’s temptation was one that would require Jesus to prove arrogance and stupidity, not security.
2. When one has genuine security it does not have to be proven to anyone – if you must prove it you don’t have it.
3. To prove His Security at this point and this manner would be to tempt God. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”.
4. Jesus was so secure that He trusted that His Father would take Him all the way to fulfill His destiny, and that destiny as a Man was to die on the cross.

D. The final temptation was concerning His desire, and ours to be successful.

1. Worship me, and I will give you the kingdoms of the world (Ps. 2:8).
2. Jesus would one day have dominion of the kingdoms of the world, but not this way; Jesus knew there was a debt to pay, the sin debt which was owed to the Father.
3. Worshipping God, the Creator, is the only means of success.

II. THE LIGHT SHINES WHERE JESUS DWELLS (vv. 12-17)

A. Jesus as the Light continued the message of the Baptist – the message of repentance.
B. Notice that Jesus departed from Nazareth, and came to Capernaum to dwell.

1. This was His place of residence; his ministry headquarters now. (John 6:16-24).
2. One thing that always stands out in the Gospel of Matthew is that Jesus fulfilled Scripture.

C. Jesus wants His Light to shine in and through you.

III. THE LIGHT SHINES IN AND THROUGH HIS FOLLOWERS/DISCIPLES (vv. 18-22).

A. Jesus walks along the seashore seeking men to follow Him.

1. The sea often represents the realm of mankind, and their doomed, despairing, drowning, dying cries for help.
2. That sea of man is still here and we are all still needy, by when we have come to the light we can go with Jesus.

B. Jesus takes Simon and Andrew first, then He calls James and John.

1. These were all fisherman, and He finds them all about the task of their work.
2. They can understand the call “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

C. The call still rings through the word and the hearts of His disciples, “Come follow Me”.

IV. THE LIGHT SHINES AS EVIDENCE OF HIS HONOR, GLORY AND POWER, THROUGH HIS TEACHING, PREACHING AND HEALING (vv. 23-25).

A. These are the credentials of the Divine King – the Son of God.

1. In His teaching He taught with supreme authority (7:29).
2. In His preaching He announced the kingdom of heaven.
3. In His healing and miracles it was divine clarification of His identity and authority.

B. The greatest healing and miracle Jesus came to do was to give Light to the darkness of human hearts.

“The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart”

C. Why do we follow Him?

1. Is it solely because of what He can do for us?
2. Is it solely because of what He has done for us?
3. Is it because He loved us and made it possible that we love Him?
4. Is it because of who He is?

SUMMARY –

I. IN HIS LIGHT THERE IS VICTORY OVER EVERY TEMPTATION.
II. THE LIGHT OF JESUS SHINES WHERE HE DWELLS; LET HIM SHINE IN AND THROUGH YOU.
III. HAVE YOU HEARD THE CALL OF JESUS – “COME FOLLOW ME”?
IV. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED HIS LOVE, THAT ENABLES YOU TO LOVE HIM, BY EXPERIENCE OF HIS GRACE AND SALVATION?
V. CONFESS YOUR SIN, REPENT OF SIN, BELIEVE THAT JESUS DIED, WAS BURIED, AND ROSE AGAIN.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Darkness of the Crucifixion

The Darkness Of The Crucifixion

Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44

When Jesus went to the cross there was a period of three hours which is not given much notice in sermons that are preached. Of course, there is actually no way we can know all that went on in that three hours, unless it is by reading the twenty second Psalm, and hear the heart cry of our Savior as He was rejected by His Father, forsaken by His Father.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. Matt 27:45 (KJV)And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33 (KJV)And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Luke 23:44 (KJV)

A few years ago I read a sermon by G. Campbell Morgan titled “THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA” which really impressed me. Because of that message I developed this one using Brother Morgan’s main points, and quoting him often.

I. THE MEANING OF THE DARKNESS.

A. It was the hour of evil.
B. No matter how deep or dark the darkness the Light is always shining.
C. Satan wanted to extinguish the Light.

“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to….put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brouth to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” G. Campbell Morgan.

D. Darkness is a symbol of spiritual evil.

“The people which sat in darkness saw a great light:” (Matthew 4:16).

“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” (6:23). ASLO SEE Matthew 8:12 & 25:30.

E. Death and darkness express the ultimate in evil.

II. THE PASSING OF THE DARKNESS.

A. The four sayings after the passing of the darkness;

1. The cry of forsakenness (27:46);
2. The cry of human limitation and experience (John 19:28). [I thirst].
3. The cry of spiritual accomplishment (John 19:30) [It is finished]
4. The cry of confidence (Luke 23:46).

“…He died, not of a broken heart, not of human brutality, not of murder by human hands; but by His own volition He yielded up the Ghost, and His spirit, commended to God passed to God. The death that saves was not that physical dissolution, but the infinite spiritual mystery of the three hours and the darkness, which being passed, He Himself did say, ‘It is finished’”. IBID

B. It seems that during the three hours of darkness the crowds were silent.

“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps.46:10).

1. Not a word is spoken until His cry of forsakenness.
2. Not a word of mockery, insolence, or hate is heard.

C. After the darkness, it was people who loved Him who took Him down, prepared His body and laid Him in the garden tomb.
D. The foes of Jesus seemed to have withdrawn.

1. Satan seems to be nowhere around.
2. Christ triumphed over him on the cross.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Col 2:13-15 (KJV)

III. THE TRANSACTION WITHIN THE DARKNESS.

A. We cannot begin to understand all that took place during the darkness.

1. Much of what has been said by men is mere theory.
2. Only what the Scriptures reveal can be received and concluded to be fact.

B. God cannot be expressed in finite or human terms.

“God must pity any man who thinks he understands the cross completely.” IBID.

C. Every sort of darkness that has been mentioned in Scripture as a symbol of evil was experienced by Jesus.

“That does not answer the inquiry as to what happened. I have no answer for that. Only this I know, that in that hour of darkness He passed into the place of the ultimate wrestling of evil in actual experience. There is light as I hear the final word, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit’ (Luke 23:46), for the word is a word which declares that whatever the transaction was, it was accomplished; that whatever the dying indicated, it was done.” IBID.

D. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” (Matthew 27:42).

1. Because He saves others; He cannot/could not save Himself.
2. Because He chose to go up to the cross; He could not come down. His heart was set on saving others.

E. WHY COULDN’T HE SAVE HIMSELF?

“Because He is God, and because God is love, and love is never satisfied with the destruction of a sinner, but with the saving of a sinner.” IBID.

“Someone may say to me, ‘Cannot God forgive out of pure love?’ I shall answer, ‘If He can, I cannot.’ If He could forgive me for the wrongs of which I am conscious, and that have left behind them their stain and pollution – If He could forgive my sins by simply saying, ‘Never mind them’, then I cannot so forgive myself. My conscience cries for a cleansing that is more than a sentiment of pity. Somehow, somewhere, in order that I may have forgiveness, there must be tragedy, something mightier than devilish sin.” IBID.

F. In the darkness He determined not to deliver Himself, rather He chose to deliver me.

1. Out of darkness has come a Light.
2. From the darkness had come the treasures of pardon, peace, power, and purity.

“I do not know what happened in the darkness, but this I know, that as I have come to the cross and received the suggestions of the material unveiling, I have found my heart, my spirit, my life brought into a realm of healing spices, to the consciousness of the forgiveness of sins. And there is no other gospel of forgiveness.” IBID.

G. In the darkness He chose not to save Himself; He chose to save the world.

NO MATTER WHAT MEN MAY SAY, SATAN WAS DEFEATED BY JESUS ON THE CROSS: THE RESURRECTION WAS CONFIRMATION OF THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The First Day

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5  (KJV)

The First Day of September.  I am back from a time away.  It is good to be back with those of you who have been touched in some way by these post.

First days are good days.  They are filled with excitement, encouragement, and sometimes even fear; for us at least.

Considering the words of God above it was the beginning of all things that you and I know.  The world that we see.  The world that we know could not be seen and known apart from God creating them; including you and me.

My prayer for you today is to have a day filled with God, His grace, His mercy, His love; and I pray that if you do not know Him that you will call on the name of the One who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose again.  His name is Jesus the Christ; the Son of God, God the Son. Our Creator (John 1:1-5).

O that all who know Him would surrender to Him, know His word, His will and walk in His way.  Will you today.

 

Three Hours of Darkness

Today I want to share with you a quotation from G. Campbell Morgan. From a sermon he preached called “The Darkness of Golgotha”.

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46 (KJV)

“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to apprehend it, to comprehend it, to extinguish it, to put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brought to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” G. Campbell Morgan from the sermon “THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA”

When Will Jesus Return?

Over the many years people and so called prophets, and preachers have predicted and set dates in which our Lord Jesus would come again.  We see that His people are still here and many of the “prophets” have went to eternity; wherever that may be.

The founder of the JW cult predicted that Jesus would return in 1914 or so, and we know that did not happen.  In 1988 there was a booklet that came out called “Eighty Eight Reasons Jesus Will Return in 1988”; and again he has not come.

Jesus Himself said,  “…I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…”  (John 14:3), and we were warned about people saying “…Where is the promise of His coming?…” (2 Peter 3:4).  Jesus Himself said,

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” Matthew 25:13 (KJV)

There is our answer to the question.  When will Jesus return?  We do not know.  Even Jesus; the Son of God and God the Son;  while He walked on earth among his fellow man did not know the time of His return (Matthew 24:36).

The reason we do not know is that this way we live in preparation for His coming.  We ought always be ready; bearing the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22), and continually being filled by the Spirit of Christ; being His witnesses in a dark world, and  ”…So much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25).

There are plenty of signs we can see that declares something is about to happen.  The nation of Israel is daily attacked by her enemy, Christians are daily persecuted by beheading, and sale as slaves in some parts of the world.  There is much fear.

Christian!  Lift up your head.  Your redemption draws near.

Day Three Hundred Twenty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always see evil as evil and good as good; and desire that all who name the name of Jesus Christ believe His Word above all else, and stand with our Lord.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV)

No Other

“I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:5-7 (KJV)

Speaking through the prophet the LORD states with power and authority that there is no other God.

It is the purpose of God, His Word, His Spirit that all will know that He is the LORD. He has been working in the world and through mankind so that the world may know that He alone is GOD and that that there is no other.

When He chose Israel as His light to the nations of the world He gave them His word. He also sent His Son Jesus to the people of Israel. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Just as they had over and over again rejected the word of the law given by Moses, they also rejected the prophets He had sent; they rejected Isaiah, and his words given by God; they rejected the Son of God Himself.

Because of their rejection they experienced “Evil” or as newer translations state it “Calamity”. When one rejects the light they will walk in darkness. When one, or a nation rejects the peace of God, then they will walk in “evil” or “calamity”.

God has given us His Light. If we reject that we choose darkness. God has given us peace. If we reject peace we turn to evil, and choose calamity that follows.

In the Acts of the Holy Spirit Doctor Luke was inspired by the Spirit to write,

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

This is speaking of none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God the Son. There is no other God by which we can be saved.

The Light is Shining

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)

The nation having departed from the Word of the LORD, His law, and His prophets is in darkness. A darkness covers the land. A darkness of sin, of captivity, of departing from the Living God, to dead idols, to shame, to sin, and its captivity.

The verse is one of the promised Messiah who would come as Light to this nation in darkness; and its people dwelling in the “shadow of death”.

When Jesus came into Israel, born as a man; a baby in a manger; the Light truly did shine; and there was hope for the land, the people. Jesus Christ was and is the fulfillment of this prophecy of Isaiah. This verse is given in detail in Matthew 4:15-16, and following this verse Jesus says,

“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (v. 17)

It is time for repentance, in our day. A time for turning away from sin to Christ Jesus and life in the light. When we are in darkness the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ shines brighter. It shines brighter as those who are His will stand, and be strong in the LORD, and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10ff).

The ultimate fulfillment of this verse will be when Jesus the Messiah will come again, and set all things right, and reign as King of all kings.

The Light of the Messiah; the Christ is shining brightly in this dark world. Paul the apostle of Christ said,

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…” Romans 5:20

Because of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Light (John 8:12; 9:5).  The Light is Shining brightly.

In Darkness; There is Light

“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19-20 (KJV)

It seems that many of the people of God, the people of Israel were searching for answers in all the wrong places. Their hearts had grown hard and dull to the light of God’s Word, and His messengers the prophets, and the Law. They were seeking out “wizards” and “Necromancers” seeking a word for their future. This God has forbidden for His people (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10-11). King Saul was guilty of the practice with the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:8-19), and due to his rebellion and pride he was killed in battle, along with Jonathan his son, the very next day.

There is no where the people of God; and Christians of today; need to go for answers, and the truth except to the Word of God. He has given His Word of truth in the Bible. It is found from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.

Any man or woman who does not teach or preach according to what God has given us in His Word is not of God. There is no light in them. The message of the Word of God exalts the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is about Him. It is not about you. It is not about me. These things are written that all may know that He is the LORD of all the earth.

Any who speak not according to His Word; there is no light in them. They are in darkness. O perishing soul; come to the Father through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; God the Son, and the Son of God.

Fear Not: Fear GOD

“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:18-21 (KJV)

This follows the event of receiving the Ten Commandments.  The people have witnessed the seemingly stormy, troubling, loud, odorous, and fearful scene, and are very much afraid to approach the Lord GOD.  However, this was an unwarranted, undesired fear.  God is an awe-inspiring God.

The lives, and words of the people following this event show that their fear was not what was a godly fear; but a “Sorry I am here” fear which kept them from God, rather than drawing near to Him.

Moses, drew near to God.  The “Darkness” mentioned shows us that God is unapproachable, except we come to Him His way.  Moses approached God and “drew near unto the thick darkness where God was”.

Moses tells the people “Fear not” yet there is a fear of God that keeps us from sinning against Him.  When we come to Him through His Son Jesus He accepts us, and welcomes  us into His blessed and holy presence.  That is when we do not fear.

Has God Forsaken His Own???

“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” Psalm 22:1 (KJV)

The writer of this Psalm was feeling as though Go had forsaken him.  David is the Psalmist who was feeling so.  It must have been a trial of epic proportions.  Let us remember that it is faith which  causes him to cry out to God at this time.

This Psalm, at least the first verse, was quoted by our Saviour while He was hanging on the cross (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).  It was as He came through the darkest part of the crucifixion.  For three hours there was a complete and total darkness, which the earth experienced during those hours; but O the darkness which our Lord endured was far greater than any physical, or temporal darkness of the earth.

Jesus had taken upon Himself the sins of the whole world.  We are told in Scripture that God does not look on sin with favor; thus the judgment of God was upon His Son.  There is no way we can understand the events of that dark time in our Lord’s dying; however I believe I can say that it was the most dark time of His life and death.

Because Jesus was forsaken by His Father for that time He will never forsake those who are His own.  We can hear the promise, “I will never forsake you or leave you”, and know that He is always with us.

You are His only when you come to Him believing that He died for you on the cross, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave.  Believe in Him.  Call on Him believing.

Seek GOD and His Word

“And when they shall say unto you, ‘Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter:’ should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19-20 (KJV)

There is a whole lot of seeking going on.  People seeking for wealth, treasures, truth, life, liberty, happiness; just to name a few.

In the days of the prophet Isaiah they were seeking to know what tomorrow holds by way of wizards, sorcery, and/or mediums, channelers, and such as that.  May I say to you, if you happen to be one of those people; there is only One who knows tomorrow, and who knows and will give you the absolute Truth; and His name is Jesus the Christ.

The people of God; those who follow Jesus should never seek out those kinds of things.  Like the prophet says above, “Should not a people (and he is referring to God’s people) seek unto their God?”  Most definitely so.

There are many places to search for peace, happiness, justice, and love; but the only place you will find it to be lasting is in the arms of the Father God through His Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose bodily from the grave, and will return one day.

Turn to the pages of God’s Word [The Holy Bible] to find out more about Him.

You Are of More Value

“But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come.  The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?  Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.  What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.  Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 10:23-33)

The Word Jesus Has Spoken

“He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me.  And he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me.  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness.  And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.  He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.  For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak.”  ~Jesus (John 12:44-50)

Walk While You Have the Light

“Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”  ~Jesus (John 12:34-36)

Thanksgiving Sermon 112413

Thanking the LORD for His Goodness

Psalm 107:1-43

First we must note that the LORD is worthy of thanksgiving; who it is that ought to be thankful; and from whence the deliverance has come (vv. 1-3).

There are four groups of people which should be thankful to the LORD;

1.  THOSE WHO HAVE A LONGING SOUL (vv. 4-9);

2.  THOSE WHO ARE BOUND IN DARKNESS OF SOUL AND SPIRIT (vv. 10-16);

3.  THOSE WHO ARE FOOLISH IN THEIR INIQUITIES AND TRANSGRESSIONS (vv. 17-22);

4.  THOSE WHO ARE CAUGHT UP IN THE SEAS, AND STORMS OF LIFE (vv. 23-32).

5.  NOTE – THE WORKS OF THE LORD IN THE LIVES OF ALL OF THESE (vv. 33-43).
-Tim A. Blankenship

Heaven’s News – Treasure in the Kingdom

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 6:19-24)

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 5:1 – 6:11)

Rebellion and False Repentance
Hosea 5:1 – 6:11

To love God is to hate evil (Psalm 97:10).  “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13).  So declares the inspired Scriptures.

The problem with Israel as much as with people today, in general, even professing Christians, is that, we claim  to love God, and hang onto evil as well.  That cannot be, if we love God.  God says so, and it is so often ignored.

God’s desire for His people is that we learn.  Learn His ways, walk His paths of beauteous splendor.  But, there is such (what seems like) an unwillingness to learn, such desire for ignorance, rather than for a knowledge of God.

Many times in Scriptures the words “hear”, “give heed”, and/or “listen” are verbalized with great vehemence, that God cries out for their attention, but they do not give it.  Maybe I  ought to say “We do not give it” just to be fair.

The Word of God has been rejected and despised by the priests and rulers of Israel.  They have captured the people for their own gain.  The priests, the common people, and the king are guilty before God.  They all must repent and seek God.

“Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.  And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.”  Hosea 5:1-2 (KJV)

Many times God cries out through His messengers, the prophets, for His people to “Hear”.  Sometimes they listen and hear and turn form their path of destruction; many times they do not.

The judgment is toward all who are in the land.  As a response to hearing the Word some will turn, but will still suffer in judgment along with the nation.  Like we are told in Scripture “It rains on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45), and that includes blessing and judgment.

The leaders; the priests, the king, tribal leaders had ensnared and exploited the people.  The nobles and leaders were not only indulging in the practiced sin of the nation, but were also profiting from the immorality.  They did not want to cease from their sin.  There was too much profit, and an extravagant amount of pleasure to lose in doing so.  As long as there is enjoyment in sin there is no chance for repentance, and no blessing from God.

There was much bloodshed “slaughter”.  Slaughter of innocence.  The baby to the fire, the elderly “No longer useful to society”, those who cry out against audacious and vile decadence.  This will be judged.  There are many people today who worship at the fiery idol of “Choice”.

“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from Me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.  They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.  And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself from them.  They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” Hosea 5:3-7

Rebellion and impenitence is the theme of these verses.

When a lost soul turns to God for salvation, that same soul has turned away from sin and the path of Hell.  There has been a change of heart and of life, and of lifestyle.

This is what God was wanting for Israel.  Israel’s problem is that, they wee caught in a trap.  They were enslaved to their won devices of sin, and could find no way out.  In fact they did not want out.  That is the blindness of sins darkness.  Jesus spoke of the bondage of sin and its darkness in John 3:19-20.  He said, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (NKJV).

In verses three through seven God cites five reasons He would chastise Israel, and ultimately Judah.  There were probably some in Hosea’s audience who would not believe Israel could or would be destroyed, thus, the five reasons.

  1. Ephraim had prostituted herself, and Israel stood defiled (v. 3);
  2. The Israelites deeds would not allow them to return to the Lord their God (v. 4);
  3. They in their pride had rejected God’s appeal for them to turn to Him for help (v. 5);
  4. They, instead, turned to the fertility gods for help (vv. 5b-6);  “The real tragedy is that their sin had so blinded them that they thought they were seeking God by the sacrifices, and other rites at the fertility shrines.”  Traylor page 56.
  5. Their treachery against the Lord God (v. 7).

On the part of Israel was betrayal, rebellion, and an intensity to sin.  On God’s part, He remained faithful.  The result of Israel’s continued rebellion against God was destruction.  Who are we to think that it cannot happen to us when we want to hang on to our sins?

“Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.  Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.  The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water.  Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.  Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.  When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.  For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.  I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early.”  Hosea 5:8-15 (KJV)

Judgment would come from within and without.  For those today who say, “Well, God wouldn’t do that” you better get a new thought.  God does not allow His children to sin successfully.

This blowing of the “Ram’s horn” is a warning to invaders.  There is a need for sounding a warning of invaders when people forsake God, and refuse to return to His way.  The warnings, as with Israel, often go unheeded, and the people continue to live a life of indulgent sin.  Wanting the blessings, of God, and yet clinging to godless living.

Judgment is inevitable when people hear the Word of warning, and refuse to turn.  The judgment comes due to  the lack of care.  Complacent, and apathetic toward the warnings; the enemy then comes in tearing and ripping and killing fulfilling the rebuke of God to turn His people from their sins.  Who can rescue one who is under the judgment?  God says, “No one can.”

God leaves His children to face their own sin, and its fruit. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galations 6:7).  He will not come to their aid until they confess their evil and repent of it.  God’s judgment upon His people is always redemptive.  Do not deceive yourselves; there are consequences to your sin.  You will reap the harvest of those sins.

“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.  After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”  Hosea 6:1-3

By all appearances  these verses seem to be a sign of true repentance.  At least what the Lord requires of His people for His promise to be fulfilled.  Let us keep them in context with the verses which follow.

How long does it take us to learn that we cannot fool God?  He knows our heart.  He knows our thoughts.  He knows when we are truly penitent, and when it is false.

Sorry they had been discovered, their sin found out, they want to avoid the judgment that was about to fall upon them.  Notice, there is no mention of forsaking their evil ways, only seeking to return in order to get blessing again.  They want healing, revival, and the rains, but God knows the heart.

“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.  Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.  For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against Me.  Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.  And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.  I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.  Also, O Judah, He hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of My people.”  Hosea 6:4-11

God will, and does judge His people to produce godly knowledge, and loyalty to Him.

The two questions of verse four are very penetrating.  They imply with force, “Why do you deceive Me?”  The repentance of “Ephraim” is only fleeting.  Clinging to their sin, loving their sin, they cry for forgiveness.  The “Morning cloud” appears until the light and heat of the sun hits it, then, it is gone.  The “Early dew” lingers on the leaves, grass, flowers, and the fields until the light of day causes it to evaporate into nothingness, and it is gone.  The describes the repentance of Israel.  Sadly, it also describes the feeble cries of repentance; if there are any; in the Church of the 21st century.  While wanting the blessings of God we also want to cling to our sin that separates us from God.  Wreaking havoc upon ourselves, our Church, our nation, and the world, sin continues while God calls us to repent.  God’s people are to be a stabilizing force in society, and culture by being unmoved by passions of lust and greed.

The Word of God in written form, and from the mouths of His prophets inflicts wounds to cut out sin.  “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).  The Word of God is the Law which shows the way of freedom.  Sin is an evil, and cruel master destroying life, and godly relationships.

The LORD God desires permanence in our loyalties.  His frustration is with words that have no commitment, no devotion, no perseverance.  When judgment comes it is as a light revealing pitfalls, stumbling blocks, and dead-ends.  Judgment shows that departure from God to sin has taken place.

False repentance is eager to sacrifice money, maybe time, and even attendance at worship, programs and feasts, but not personal commitment to change, to show mercy and kindness, to love as God loves – loving “God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our neighbor as we love ourselves”- to know God, and not just ritual.

The vileness of man’s heart continually transgresses God’s Law.  Acts of treason are committed against Him daily.  Treachery, the act to deceive, and  that which destroys trust, is committed by refusing to obey what has been agreed to by all parties.  God has no other choice but to judge.  Remember our God is holy.

Bloodshed, robbery, harlotry seem to be permanent encroachments upon the land.  God says, that it is “A horrible thing in the house of Israel.”  The house of Judah will not be exempt.  None who turn from God to serve self are exempt from God’s wrath.  Is there hope in that?  Those who experience God’s judgment, and confess their sins, and turn from their sins [repentance] to Jesus Christ, God’s holy Son will experience His mercy and grace.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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.

Are We Seeing Things???

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; ‘When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.’  Verily I say unto you, ‘This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.”  Matthew 24:29-35 (KJV)

Jesus says in the above quotation, along with other things;  “…When ye shall see all these things…”  Thus I pose the question, “Are we seeing things?”  Christian our hope is not in this world.  It is in knowing Jesus Christ and being known by Him.  Trust not in politics or politicians; nor in government.

Jesus is coming soon.

-T.A.

Day 5 – Mediator Desired

It seems in the reading in early Genesis that Adam must have had a fellowship with God; walking with Him in the garden on a regular basis; before there was sin in the garden.  After their rebellion and disobedience, God came walking to them, they heard His voice, and they hid themselves.

The voice of God is a fearful thing to sinful man.  Nothing vile, and unclean can stand in His presence, and it seems that is ingrained in every unredeemed heart.  It is seen in Exodus following the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt.  After the powerful and fearful working power of God in the land of Egypt you would almost think that there would be a heart that longed to hear the voice of God, but no, that did not happen.  Hear their voices;

“And they said unto Moses, ‘Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’  And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.  And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.”  Exodus 20:19-21 (KJV)

We can see in this that what the people wanted was actually a Mediator.  Someone to stand between them and God, and someone to speak for God, rather than hear Him themselves.  Moses says to them, “‘Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.”  Another translation says it like this,

 “Don’t be afraid,” Moses said, “for God has come in this way to show you his awesome power. From now on, let your fear of him keep you from sinning!”  Exodus 20:20 (NLT)

It is definite that we do need a Mediator between us and God; and God has provided His Mediator.  That Mediator is Jesus, and makes it so much different.  The apostle Paul has written by the inspiration of the Spirit of God,

“For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”  1 Timothy 2:5-6

We need to see sin as a very fearful, hurtful, destructive, eternally deadly thing in our lives.  We need to see that we need God in our lives, lest we go to death and destruction – eternal death and destruction.  God requires perfection by the law.  The law shows that we are imperfect, and cannot reach God; however God has provided a way; the Mediator who gave Himself a ransom for all who will believe.

Look at the difference the apostle John offers in the New Testament;

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

Those who are redeemed through the blood of Jesus are the “sons of God”, unknown by the world, because it knew and knows not Christ.  The son of God seeks God out; and seeks to be just as pure and holy as He is pure and holy.  No more fear to hear His voice, because of the Mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood on Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When the Righteous Rule

The wisdom of Solomon in the Proverbs has formerly said,

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  Proverbs 14:14

and that is so evidently true in many cases of nations and people.  It is true of Israel, England, and the United States of America; and any other nation which has had righteous rule.  The writer of Proverbs also states;

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”  Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)

Many professing Christians believe that this nation is about to come under the judgment of God because of unrighteous rule, and unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds.  However, that is just not the case; we have unrighteous rule, unrighteous laws, and unrighteous deeds, because the judgment of God is already on us.  It is not coming it is here.

We have been a nation [USA] which has lived comfortably, leisurely, and selfishly.  And, without much thought of how God’s hand was on us without pride, and greed having a upper hand in it.

The people of a nation led by righteous authority do rejoice; their is more freedoms with self control, generosity, caring, sharing, and loving.  Righteousness equals right judgments in situations of law, court judgments in cases of crime, and injustice.  Righteousness is doing that which is right according to what God says; not what man says is right.  Righteousness knows right from wrong; and yes there is right and wrong.

When the wicked rule there is unrighteousness, fear, injustice, greed, religious zeal without fear of God or consequences of unrighteous acts.

When there is wicked men who rule a nation; that does not mean that Christian men and women cannot be righteous in their conduct.  It is the time for men and women of God to shine the righteousness of Christ to a world in darkness; to our nation in darkness.  No politician can save this nation from ruin.  According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen, and get darker.  It is time for the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to shine.

Shine down YOUR righteousness O LORD.  Shine Jesus Shine.  One day we know YOU will come and rule;  then, that will truly be WHEN THE RIGHTEOUS RULE.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Note:  In my commentary above I have written, “According to the unrighteous prophets of our day, things will  get better, economically; but morally, and legally things will worsen…”  I was not meaning to say that the unrighteous prophets believed things would worsen morally, and legally; but that is my thoughts.

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

My Observations 021111

Reading today from Numbers 7 – 9.

Will focus today on chapter 8:1-4 dealing with what is called the menorah; the light of the tabernacle.

It has been said that darkness is only the absence of light, and that cold is the absence of heat.  I can see that from a spiritual point of view; God’s point of view.  Especially for the human race.  We can be assured, however, that whether in darkness or cold God is present, and is speaking whether we hear or not.

The lamp or Menorah was the only source of light for the tabernacle.  It would have been the first thing to tend upon entering the actual “tent”, filling the bowls with olive oil for the burning for light.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, ‘Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.’  And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses.  And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.”  Numbers 8:1-4 (KJV)

This lampstand/menorah was positioned on the South side of the tabernacle, and the table of Shewbread was on the North side.  The menorah was to be positioned to focus the light on the bread of the table.  There were to be twelve loaves of bread on the table, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel.

As we can also see in these verses we are told once again that the candlestick is made of pure beaten gold.  It is made by taking a piece of gold and forming it with a hammer, I suppose, or some other like tool; to shape it into this beautiful object known as a menorah.  In its original form it had three lamps on one side, and three on the other side with one in the middle.  A total of seven lights burning.  Seven for complete light.  We might think that would not be much light.  Seven lamps burning in such a small room, however, would illuminate the room quite well.  Have you ever been in a cave, in total darkness, without your flashlight turned on or without any light burning?  It is so dark you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face.  One person lighting a single match can light up a room of a cavern.  Darkness is dispelled.  Darkness flees in the presence of a sign of light.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).  He has also told those who follow Him,

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 4:14-16

As I read the Scriptures it becomes even more clear, every time I read through the Bible, that the overwhelming evidence is that both Old and New Testaments point to Jesus Christ as the central character of Scripture.  Even the last book of the Bible tells us,

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Revelation 19:10

He is the light of a dark heart.  He is the light of the world.  He is the light.  He is the light that shows men where to find bread; for He also said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48).

Come out of the darkness of sin and death; into the light of Jesus Christ through His death, burial and resurrection.

Please read Numbers 7 – 9

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Prophecy Of Our Lord’s Birth

The following is an outline of a sermon I preached in December of 2006, and posted at Wings As Eagles on December 11, 2006.  I repost it here for this season of remembering His birth.

THE BIRTH FORETOLD

Isaiah 7:1-14

OUTLINE –

I. JUDAH/JERUSALEM WAS UNDER SEIGE, AND GREAT THREAT FROM THE SYRIANS WITH SUPPORT FROM EPHRAIM/ISRAEL (vv. 1-2)

II. GOD SENT ISAIAH TO AHAZ, THE GRANDSON OF UZZIAH TO COMFORT AND ENCOURAGE HIM CONCERNING THE TERRORISM AT THEIR GATES (vv. 3-7).

III. GOD’S WORDS CONCERNING THOSE WHO RISE UP AGAINST THE RIGHTEOUS REMNANT (vv. 8-9).

IV. GOD GIVES A SIGN, DESPITE THE ARROGANCE AND UNWILLINGNESS TO OBEY FROM AHAZ; OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WOULD COME BY WAY OF A VIRGIN (vv. 10-16).

INTRODUCTION –

I. Living In An Affluent Society As We Do; We Often Do Not Realize The Fears and Battles Which Others In the World Are Going Through; Yet, There Are Many In Our Own Country Which Suffer Due To Hideous Things, Threats, Sickness, and Other Things.

II. Some People Are Asking “Why Doesn’t God Intervene?”, and The Answer To That Is; He Has and Presently Is.

III. The Word Of God Gives Us The Way Of Life and the Way Of Faith, Comfort, Encouragement, and We All Need It In Our Lives.

IV. God Came Down and Dwelt Among Us, and He Is Still With Us.

Even though this is the Christmas season; the season, the time of the year when we remember our Lord’s birth. Those who are not suffering from delusion will readily admit that these are not pleasant times, but let’s not be disheartened, discouraged or downheartedd. Remember, Jesus, the one whose birth we celebrate is Lord over all.

Christmas is about God. It is about God sending His Son, born of a virgin, born to die for the sins of the world.

I. THESE MAY BE DAYS OF SEIGE FROM THE ENEMY AND DARK FORCES FROM EVERY SIDE, AND THESE CAN CAUSE GREAT FEAR (vv. 1-2).

A. Ahaz was surrounded by the trouble of his Sister Nation, and the Syrians, so we may be as well, surrounded by an enemy who is set to destroy us and our testimony for Christ.

B. When we are not right with God we will be fearful; if we are right with God, having our sins confessed and obeying His call and direction for our lives, then, we need not fear, nor will we be fearful.

Someone once said, “If we fear God; we need fear nothing else”.

II. GOD HAS SENT HIS MESSENGER TO GIVE US COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FOR FACING THE ENEMY WHICH TRIES SO HARD TO DETRACT US AND GET US AWAY FROM GOD AND HIS PLAN FOR OUR LIVES (vv. 3-7).

A. Every time we are afraid God sends a messenger by way of the Holy Spirit; the message is found in God’s Word.

B. God’s messenger will speak a relevant message for the time and place.

1. Notice, that God sent ‘Shearjashub’ with Isaiah as a message of comfort – his name means, “A remnant shall return”.

2. The land of Judah would not be forgotten by God – that promise is true of all those who are in the faith of the Lord Jesus.

C. The greatest messenger of all is God’s Son Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist has written, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” (Ps. 56:3). And, in verse eleven he wrote, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

D. Be assured; the enemy of our peace shall not prevail – Jesus Christ won the victory.

1. These “Smoking firebrands” may be hot, but they are going to burn out and burn up, and be nothing but ash.

III. GOD’S WORD IS HERE FOR OUR INSTRUCTION, REBUKE, CORRECTION, INSPIRATION, AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO MATURITY IN JESUS CHRIST (vv. 8-9).

A. God is in control of the matters of our lives; so let’s not let our troubles detract us from the will of God.

B. God’s Word is the means by which we can resist the lies, snares, pits, and deceit of the enemy.

1. The Word of God, with the Spirit of God gets us to the place God wants us when we hear and obey.

2. By the Word of God we know the afflictions are often, if not always, for our benefit.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word” (Ps. 119:67).

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes” (Ps. 119:71).

C. Those who will not take heed to God and His Word will certainly be without help (v. 9b).

IV. FOR US GOD HAS GIVEN US THE SIGN OF THE GOD-MAN WHO WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN IN THE STABLE OF BETHLEHEM (vv. 10 – 16).

A. Like Ahaz, some do not want a sign from God, because it would humble them, and cause them to realize their weaknesses, and God’s strength.

B. Despite the unwillingness of some to request a sign, God has given us one anyway.

1. That sign is the birth of the God-man Jesus Christ to the virgin mother who was willing to risk her reputation, and future marriage, and possibly her own life, to bring the Son of God to earth to pay the price for the sins of mankind, and redeem us unto God.

2. That sign, even now, causes controversy in the hearts of many who profess Christ as their Savior.

C. The unwillingness does not negate the fact, though, it strengthens it.

1. He was born of the woman – a virgin – who had no seed.

2. He could not have had a human father, the sinful seed comes from the man.

3. He was born of the seed of God, thus, having no sin, and fully qualified to die for mankind’s sin and bring reconciliation between God and mankind.

D. This prophecy was fulfilled in the following verses,

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” Matthew 1:18-25

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7.

SUMMARY –

I. LOOK TO THE MESSENGER OF GOD’S WORD – AS JEREMIAH SAID, ‘THERE IS A WORD FROM THE LORD”.

II. LOOK TO THE SIGN WHICH HAS BEEN GIVEN US – THE SIGN OF HIS VIRGIN BIRTH AND THE SIGN OF HIS CROSS.

III. TRUST GOD’S WORD WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO GUIDE YOU, SECURE YOU, GIVE YOU PEACE IN THE MIDST OF ATTACKS AND AFFLICTION.

IV. THERE ARE ACTUALLY THREE SIGNS GOD HAS GIVEN US FOR ASSURANCE AND PEACE – 1) THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST; 2) CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS; 3) AND THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.

V. CAN YOU TRUST SUCH A ONE AS THIS JESUS? DEFFINITELY.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus – The Eternal

There are a lot of voices today saying things concerning Jesus; and many of them don’t know the real Jesus.  To many Jesus was only a good teacher, a prophet, a good man, or a good example to follow.  To others he never really existed; he is kind of like the legend of king Arthur; leaving a question or questions of like, “Did he really exist, or is he just folklore and legend?”

According to many scholars, historians, archeologists and others there is more evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, His life, death, burial, and resurrection; than there is for the existence of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.  The purpose of this message is not to present these evidences, but to just take what John the apostle wrote as fact, and present it as truth, the truth of God; and let God speak for Himself.

Purpose – To introduce Jesus Christ to us in the beginning of John’s Gospel as the Word – to see what God is like; God’s communication of Himself to bring us to Himself.

INTRODUCTION –

The writer of the notes in the PILGRIM STUDY BIBLE says, “Words reveal thoughts and character; and just so the Lord Jesus expressed God’s thought and showed us what God is like.”

Jesus is introduced to us in the beginning of John’s Gospel as the Word.  We are told by John that “the Word became flesh and dwelt amon us…”  In chapter 12:20-21 there were some Greeks who had come to a feast of Israel.  They came to Phillip and said, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”  That is what I pray we get from this message from the Gospel of John.

If the world could get a clear picture of Jesus, and follow Him, it would help us all.  The following story gives us the wisdom of a child;

“One day a father was sitting in his easy chair enjoying reading the daily paper.  His young daughter came up to him saying, ‘Daddy will you play house with me?’  He would say, ‘Not now sweetheart. I am reading the paper rightenow.  Please go a play without me.’  His daughter was persistent, though and kept coming back.  Finally, after seveal  approaches by the girl the father took a page of the peaper with a picture of the world on it, tore it into several pieces and gave it to her saying, ‘Here, see how long it takes you to put the pieces of the world  together like a puzzle.’  She took that page and was gone a very short time, and returned to her father, and said, ‘Daddy, I got it all put together.’  He looked at the page, and asked her, ‘You finished so quickly.  How did you do that?’  Her response  was one that really should have an influence on us all.  ‘Daddy’, she said, ‘There is a picture of Jesus on the back of the page, and when I got Jesus together the world came together too.”

John has some favorite words – “Life”, “love”, “witness”, “believe”, “truth, “know”, “light”, “darkness”, “world”, and “flesh”.  you will notice these words in the reading of the gospel and his other writings.

“Jesus Christ as the Eternal Word is a revelation of God to man.”  KJV BIBLE COMMENTARY

None of the Gospels are more clear on the Deity of Jesus Christ than is John’s Gospel.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  John 1:1-5 (KJV)

OUTLINE:

I.  JESUS IS THE IMAGE AND REPRESENTATION OF GOD (v. 1;  Hebrews 1:3).

II.  JESUS IS THE FULNESS OF THE GODHEAD (v. 2;  Colossians 2:9).

III.  JESUS IS THE LIFE AND LIGHT OF THE WORLD (v. 3-4,  3:19; Colossians 1:16;  Genesis 1:1-3).

IV.  JESUS IS THAT LIGHT WHICH DISPELLS THE DARKNESS (v. 5; 8:12; 12:46; Ephesians 5:8)

JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF AND REPRESENTATION OF GOD.

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”  Hebrews 1:3 (KJV)

He as the Living Word was creating from the beginning of all things (Genesis 1:1).  A person’s words reveal their character, their hearts, their thoughts.  You can trust God’s Word.  In God’s case His Word is His character.

Jesus as the Living Word is revealed seven times in the first chapter of Genesis.   In verses 3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24, and 26 it reads, “And God said…”.  What God said was His Word was going forth creating.  All things that are were made by His Word – the Word who “was made flesh”.

Let’s hear what Jesus said of Himself;

“Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.”  John 8:19 (KJV)

“Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”  John 8:57-58 (KJV),

and who is “I Am”?

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”  Exodus 3:13-14 (KJV)

JESUS IS THE FULNESS OF ALL THE GODHEAD – SO HE WAS WITH HIM AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN WITH HIM.

“For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9).

The Scriptures tell us that “God is Spirit” meaning, basically, that we cannot see God.  “God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

God in His love revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus who is the Living Word.  When we see Jesus we see the Father.  When we hear the words of Jesus we hear the words of the Father.  When we trust Jesus we trust the Father.

JESUS IS THE LIFE AND LIGHT TO THE WORLD.  The implication is that the world is in darkness and in need of light.  In the beginning God gave light for the earth.  Where did the light come from?  God is the light of the world.  Jesus later said, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5)  The light was divided from darkness.  One thing we must realize is, that, where there is light is no darkness at all.

Darkness is a way of hiding all that is evil and evil evidently does not realize that nothing is hid from God.

“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”  John 3:19 (KJV)

Jesus is the light that shines in darkness, and darkness cannot overcome His light.  The world and the devil may think He is defeated.  We hear reports of Christianity slipping in growth, yet those who genuinely trust Jesus Christ are growing and the Body of Christ is still strong, and growing in faith; knowing that the return of Jesus Christ is soon.

The devil, that ole serpent, knows he has been defeated; but has many convinced that the battle has not yet been decided.  Anyone believing that is a fool, and pawn of evil.  The cross of Christ and His resurrection is the sure sign that the battle for the souls of men, has been won, and Jesus Christ is the Victor.  Light has overcome the darkness.

JESUS IS THAT LIGHT WHICH DISPELLS DARKNESS – HE DRIVES IT AWAY.  Who ever follows Jesus will not walk in darkness, but in the light.

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12 (KJV)

People who walk with Jesus will not abide in darkness – we are of the light, because He is the Light.

“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”  John 12:46 (KJV)

When you are trusting Jesus, walking with Him, He drives all the darkness away; or will walk with you through it (Psalm 23:4).  If you are having a dark moment in your life, just look to Jesus, the One who endured the darkness of the cross for all our sin.  Paul tells us to walk as children of the light.

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light…”  Ephesians 5:8 (KJV)

SUMMARY –

i.  To see God just look upon Jesus.
ii.  Everything God is; Jesus is:  Everything Jesus is God is.
iii.  Where Jesus is there is no darkness at all.
iv.  In the presence of Jesus there is no need for fear, unless you are on the wrong end of his judgment.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Lord Of Joy

There is a need in our world for real joy.  Not joy which is temporary, and because of an increase of wealth, or peace of man; but rather the “peace of God which passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:67).  The world is plagued with sorrow upon sorrow.  Earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, cyclones, sicknesses, disease, hatred, financial collapse.  We do not need to hear much more about it do we?   There is only One who can give us this real, abiding  joy, and He is the one who is the Light that we read about in the previous two verses of this prophet.  The One who brings the light to the “people who walked in darkness”.

“Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.  For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.”  Isaiah 9:3-5 (KJV)

The  prophecy of  Isaiah was written in the eighth century B.C. so this was approximately 150 years or so before the Babylonian captivity of which Jeremiah writes, and Ezekiel.  Jeremiah was written around the time of the captivity, it covers the time shortly before captivity, and the beginning of the captivity.  Ezekiel the prophet himself was one of the captives writting from Babylon.  The reason I mention those things is because Isaiah is giving a prophetic statement in the above verses.  He warns so often of a captivity that is coming upon Judah and Israel, but then, he gives hope by telling of the return of the captives, and wonderful blessings far beyond a believer’s expectations.

A big portion of this chapter is given to hope.  Verses one through seven are the verses of hope.  In our present verses we see that the prophet is recognizing the fulfillment of God’s Word toward Abraham, His covenant He made with him and with Isaac and Jacob.  “You have multiplied the nation”, is the LORD’s confirmation of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the promise to the nation of Isaiah’s time of its fulfillment.  He has promised that their descendants will be multiplied as numerous as the “sands of the seashore” (Genesis 22:17).

With them comes the joy that has been missing.  Joy of seeing the promises of God fulfilled, and it does have a way of inspiring our hearts and lifting us above our life situation, no matter what burden has been placed on our shoulders.  There will be rejoicing in the cities, the provinces, the homes, and all the land will be rejoicing, and the prophet likens it to soldiers who have won a victory and taken much spoil.

There will come a day, a future day from Isaiah, when God will free Israel from Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and any other nations which have carried them away, and oppressed her.  As in the days of Gideon when he was used by God to deliver them from the burden of Midian, so to will there be a breaking of the yoke again;

“And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath.  And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.”  Judges 7:22-23 (KJV)

Reminding us of the mighty power of God to deliver from our enemies.  Though the enemy of the Christian is not any human being, the threat of the enemy is still real.  Our enemy is the devil, the enemy of Jesus Christ and His Father.  Our enemy is to be fought with the Word of God and prayer.  We ought to never lift our hands or physical weapons aganst a fellow human being except to save life; whether if be our own, our family, or a neighbors.  Then, only when we have no other  choice.  There is freedom to the follower of Jesus Christ.  Freedom from sin and its bondage, and freedom from death; and a life to live for all eternity in the presence of Jesus Christ.

There will come a day in the life of the nation of Israel when soldiers of the earth will stand against them, and God will defeat their enemies.  Their carcases will be devoured by the vultures, and the weapons of the enemies warfare will be burned in fires.  What a joyous victory our Lord will have.  What a great victory the world will experience as the earth will experience the renewing of the One who came bringing this light to the world nations, and  to the nation called Israel.

True peace and joy can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for our sins, His burial carrying our sins and their condemnation and guilt far, far away: never to be laid on us again; and believing that God has raised His Son from the dead.  Jesus also said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself…” John 14:3b.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Light For The Darkness

There are many people in this world who are living in darkness.  In January of 2007, and December of that same year in the cities and counties surrounding the place I live, there had been ice storms which caused trees to fall, tree limbs to snap and fall onto power lines; and because of that thousands and thousands of homes, businesses, people were left without light and heat.  These events happened again this past Winter (2009) in most of Northern Arkansas, and other areas. This type of darkness comes to an end by renewing electrical power.  Sadly there were some who died as a result of these trials and icy circumstances.

There is,  however, an even icier situation going on in the world.  It is a situation where light is available, but no one wants it.  Many turn cold-heartedly away from the truth of light and darkness, and choose the darkness and cold rather than sight and warmth.  There is an answer to the distress of many people, and it can be found in the truth and light of the Word of God.

Hear the word of the Prophet:

“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.” Isaiah 9:1 (KJV)

This, of course, is the beginning of a prophetic statement of One who will come and bring light to these two tribes who at a time before had been in great darkness.  The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes on this verse, “Zebulun…Naphtali…Galilee. Zebulun and Naphtali on the northern border in NE Galilee W of the Jordan River were the first to suffer from the invasion by the Assyrian king (2 Kin. 15:29), marking the beginning of dark days for Israel.” p. 968.  The whole northern kingdom of Israel had been wicked from their beginning, turned away from God set up golden calves as idols for their gods in the cities of Bethel and Dan, and were plunged into darkness.  They needed light, and they would receive light.

Zebulun and Naphtali may have been the first to experience the conquering power of the Assyrian king, but they would also be the first to experience the Light that was coming into the world.  If you will remember, Galilee is the place our Lord Jesus was raised by a godly mother and a man who taught Him as though he were His father.

When you realize you are in darkness it is time to call the power company, inform them of your plight, and then they will come and help you.  In the case of spiritual darkness you must first realize your spiritual darkness, and eternal plight, call on the Lord of Light who is Jesus Christ of whom the prophet preaches, and He will give you light.

The people in Springfield, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Harrison, Arkansas; Green Forrest, Arkansas, and surrounding cities, and counties eventually got their power back, had light, had heat, and were glad to get back into a warm bed at night and wake the next morning to a warm home.  This thing called “electricity” is a wonderful thing for giving light to darkness, and heat to warm the cold, and cool the heat of a hot Summer day. It does nothing however for eternity.  It is the greatest thing in the world to awake everyday in the Light of Jesus Christ, and know that your whole life is in His light, and that the power of eternity and eternal life is His.

-Tim A. Blankenship

G. Campbell Morgan – Golgotha

The following are excerpts from his sermon “The Darkness of Golgotha” which I used in a message a few years ago, in a message I titled “The Darkness of the Cross”; dealing with those three hours Jesus and the world spent in darkness during the crucifixion.  Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34;  Luke 23:44-46

“From the very beginning of the shining of that Light, focused in history by the Incarnation, the one supreme purpose of the enemy was to….put it out. And in these three hours of darkness we are brought face to face with the time when all the force of evil was brought to bear on the soul of the Son of God, and all the unutterable intent and purpose of evil wrapped Him about in darkness that is beyond our comprehension.” .

“…He died, not of a broken heart, not of human brutality, not of murder by human hands; but by His own volition He yielded up the Ghost, and His spirit, commended to God passed to God. The death that saves was not that physical dissolution, but the infinite spiritual mystery of the three hours and the darkness, which being passed, He Himself did say, ‘It is finished’”.

“That does not answer the inquiry as to what happened. I have no answer for that. Only this I know, that in that hour of darkness He passed into the place of the ultimate wrestling of evil in actual experience. There is light as I hear the final word, ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit’ (Luke 23:46), for the word is a word which declares that whatever the transaction was, it was accomplished; that whatever the dying indicated, it was done.”

“Someone may say to me, ‘Cannot God forgive out of pure love?’ I shall answer, ‘If He can, I cannot.’ If He could forgive me for the wrongs of which I am conscious, and that have left behind them their stain and pollution – If He could forgive my sins by simply saying, ‘Never mind them’, then I cannot so forgive myself. My conscience cries for a cleansing that is more than a sentiment of pity. Somehow, somewhere, in order that I may have forgiveness, there must be tragedy, something mightier than devilish sin.”

“I do not know what happened in the darkness, but this I know, that as I have come to the cross and received the suggestions of the material unveiling, I have found my heart, my spirit, my life brought into a realm of healing spices, to the consciousness of the forgiveness of sins. And there is no other gospel of forgiveness.”

These excerpts are taken from a sermon preached by G. Campbell Morgan, titled THE DARKNESS OF GOLGOTHA.

Have a great Resurrection Sunday.  Remember as Christians we really celebrate His Resurrection every week of the year.

T.A.

Reservation Of Black Darkness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Faithful Until The Light

References – Amos 3:7;  Revelation 22:6

OUTLINE OF LUKE 1:5-25

I.  THE FAITHFUL IN A TIME OF DARKNESS (v. 5).

II.  FAVORED BY GOD – DISFAVOR AMONG MENT (vv. 6-7).

III.  THROUGH DIVINE APPOINTMENT THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE FAITHFUL HEART AND LIFE (vv. 8-17).

IV.  FROM SILENCE TO JUBILATION (vv. 18-25 referencing vv.  57-80).

At the time of Zachariah and Elisabeth it had been about 400 years since God had spoken through a prophet.  There had been no prophet for God’s people.  It was a time of darkness; and there were praying and desparate souls longing/desiring for the presence of the glory of the LORD.

There was a Temple [Herod’s Temple- not yet finished], but no “Ark of the covenant”.  It had not been recovered, and returned to the place – the Most Holy Place.

There was a favored couple – favored by God; probably viewed by the people as being disfavored by God due to having not been blessed with a child.  Zachariah and Elisabeth had both been declared “Righteous” by God.  This was “Favor”.  When God declares one “Righteous” then, that one is “Righteous” indeed.

Zachariah had his once in a lifetime duty to fulfill.  The MacArthur Study Bible note states:

“Because of the large number of priests, most would never be chosen for such a duty, and no one was permitted to serve in this capacity twice.”

In this of course we would see a Divine appointment.  Does God not direct the fall of the “Lot”?  Thus God gives a message to Zachariah that a messenger – foretold in Malachi 4:5-6 – is about to be conceived and born to he and Elisabeth.

This “incense altar” was to be kept burning perpetually.  Morning and evening that one priest had privilege of tending the altar making sure the special fiery fragrance ascended to the throne of God.  The  The couple had been praying/longing/desiring a son, and as Zachariah goes about his duties he receives the answer.

It is interesting to note that the name Zachariah means “Jah has remembered” or “YHWH has remembered”.  Through 400 years of silence God was working, and never forgot His people.

FAITHFUL IN A TIME OF DARKNESS (v. 5).  As Zachariah and Elisabeth were faithful, they have been declared “Righteous” by God; so too are all who are in Christ Jesus.  When we see wickedness abounding we have a word from God that “grace much more abounds” (Romans 5:20).

We must understand that our works, words, deeds, are worthy of righteousness.  The righteousness of God is from God alone, declared by God alone.  Righteousness comes as a gift from God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Even when God seems silent; be faithful; believing light is on the way.  For many years Zachariah and Elisabeth kept on believing.  Do we believe in God only for what He can give us?  Do we believe in God only because of the good things He does?  Do we believe in God only because of His power, His might, and awe-inspiring displays in creation?  If we only believe during these things and only when they are visible to us; we will not be likely to stand faithful like Zachariah and Elisabeth during those dark times of life.  Always trust the Lord, believing that there is a greater Light

FAVORED BY GOD – SEEN AS DISFAVORED BY GOD (vv. 6-7).  Despite the seeming rejection by God, Zachariah and Elisabeth continue faithfully.  Though others could not see it; most likely; they were counted by God as “Righteous”.  Many people probably viewed them as cursed by God, and because of their faithfulness some may have wanted them to be cursed by God.  Read Psalm 3:1-3.

They continued throught he many years looking/praying/desiring/waiting for a child.  We must see, and remember that there is nothing that tells us that God had ever promised them a child.

The believer in Christ must continue looking/praying/desiring/waiting for the the promised return of our Savior.  We live for our God who has pronounced us “Righteous”.

THROUGH DIVINE APPOINTMENT THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE FAITHFUL HEART AND LIFE (vv. 8-17).  Have you ever started thinking, “It will never happen”?  Maybe it was a desire, longing, or prayer you had prayed; you have kept asking, but deep in the recesses of your mind your thoughts were “It’s not going to happen.”

You may at this moment be praying for help with your income situation; your housing situation; matters of education; a health problem that is causing real worries or fear.  Do you believe in God appointments?  “God appointments” or “Divine appointments” are those things that to some will seem like ‘conincidences’, but to the child of God we know who ordains them.  RIGHT?  RIGHT.

God has a way of teaching us faith; growing, abiding faith, and that training never stops; until we see Jesus face to face.  Then, I could not tell you for sure, but what we may also learn throughout all eternity.

Zachariah having waited many years to serve in the Temple, had also waited for a child with Elisabeth.  It is sad to see so many people who are impatient, and cannot wait for anything.  Far too many times I have grown impatient in matters of waiting.  Who enjoys waiting at a traffic light, or even for a train to pass when you need to get over the tracks to the other side?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Is God delaying me for a purpose?”  We may never know on this side of glory, but that delayed traffic may just be a Divine appointment for our safety somewhere down the road, beginning at the light we are sitting at.

Christians must learn the godliness of waiting.  The Bible speaks much about waiting, and very little on “Hurry”.

The priest hears God speak through the angel Gabriel, and the message is good news of a son to the couple who had waited for many years.  Now, this is God’s timing.  It could not have been at a better time.  The conception and birth of this son was going to bring such joy into their home, their lives, and their neighbor’s lives as well.  Everyone was going to rejoice with Zachariah and Elisabeth.

The conception and birth of this son was going to be a fulfillment of prophecy (Malachi 4:-5-6).  They would probably not be alive at the time of this prophet’s ministry.  Zachariah is told to name his son “John”.  A very specific message, with a very specific name.

This prophet would be a preparer of the way of the LORD, and the Lord’s name is Jesus.

FROM SILENCE TO JUBILATION (vv. 18-25 referencing vv. 57-80).  While Zachariah is in the Temple fulfilling his duties, receiving the message, but not believing it he is stricken with dumbness (both mute and deaf – see v. 62).  He comes out of the Temple, and cannot speak, and the people having seen him being so long in the Temple perceive that he must have received a vision from God (v. 22).  Yet he could not speak.

Can you imagine being in your place of worship, conducting your duties in the church, and Gabriel comes to you with the message, “You will receive what you have been asking for.”  You don’t believe this messenger, so he tells you that you are not going to be able to speak, because you have not believed.  You cannot tell others of the blessing that is on the way.  You must contain yourself, and only write on a piece of paper.  You may now want to shout, but because of not believing in the first place you can’t.

Oh, how difficult we make things for ourselves at times because of our unbelief, or doubts.

John the prophet of God was born to Zachariah and Elisabeth in their old age.  There was much joy and rejoicing.  There was, in fact, much jubilation.  When Zachariah admitted to the name John his mouth was open, his hearing returned and there was jubilation.  When the Word of God is believed, and practiced in our lives others will hear and believe.

John would be the herald; the messenger of God proclaiming the coming of the Holy One of God, calling for repentance, and for the people to get right with God.

There is a day coming when Jesus will come again.  We are the heralds of His coming today.  We can be the means of others finding peace with God through Jesus Christ.  We look forward to that day when we will stand with Jesus, worshipping Him, giving Him glory; and there will be great jubilation.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Reserved For Darkness

“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;” Jude 6 (NKJV).

Apostasy is a horrible thing. It even affected the very first beings which God has made, and that is the angels. There was one angel who was evidently more beautiful to look upon than all the others, and that was the one named Lucifer. Read Ezekiel 28:11-19. He eventually got too full of himself, and led others to follow him in rebellion in heaven, and it has been said that one third of the angels followed him. Read Revelation 12:7-12.

Isaiah the prophet mentions Lucifer; “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12ff). Five times following, he shows his rebellious heart, and says he will take the throne of God, he says, “I will be like the Most High”. If there was ever a case for “I” trouble he had it.

The angels of heaven had a home in the presence of eternal God, their Creator. One led one third to be cast out, and are awaiting the judgment of God. Lucifer, ie., the devil knows that he has but a short time, and in this day is working to condemn the souls of men, women, boys and girls to eternal torment. Let us never begin to take the devil too lightly. He does not care, nor does he have an inkling or concern for our problems. He is a thief, robber, murderer, and does not desire to do anything but to “steal, kill, and destroy” you. He knows his destination is the Lake of Fire, and he and his minions are out to snare, trap, and lead you there with them.

The proper, God made domain for the angels was in the presence of the LORD. God’s proper domain for you and I is to be eternally in the presence of God. Let us never think, though, that just because we were the ones made in the “Image of God” that that destiny is secure. It is only secure in the shed blood of Jesus Christ; shed on the cross for our sins. When we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then and only then, is that destination secured. He holds us in His strong hands, and will never let us go. Praise Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

People Deportment

There are people who are “Bird watchers”.  These people will go and watch the dilapidated, redheaded woodpecker show up however and wherever it shows up.  You can tell I am not a “Birdwatcher”, though I love to hear the sounds they make, and I know that description I gave of the woodpecker is not accurate.  I hope if you are, you get humor from my gross inaccuracies.

There are people who like shopping, driving cars, and just for the sake of driving – even though that is getting to be a rather expensive venture nowadays.  When it comes to shopping; that mostly involves women and girls, though there are some men who enjoy it as well – I am not one of them.  There are times when it comes to shopping that people will pile into stores, the day after Christmas, and practically, or all together stomp on one another to find and get whatever it is they want.  You know there have been a few injuries in this gang shopping.

If there is anything that I enjoy watching, even more than a good movie, is people.  I have been know to sit down in a Mall, on one of their benches, and just watch the people as they go by, as they window shop, as they eat and drink.  Sometimes, I see a fuss and  quarrel.  I don’t enjoy seeing people fighting with one another.  I don’t enjoy fights at all, and I especially don’t like being in the middle of one.  To be the cause of one is an anathema event for me, and I will do almost anything short of lying to avoid it.

I never cease to be amazed at the gullability of people.  Just last week I heard the story of a man named Robert Salisbury, from Jacksonville, OR. who came home to find all his household goods, work tools, and even his horse being carted away.  It seems that someone had in jest put a notice on a website called “Craig’s List” that was supposedly placed by Robert, telling the people who read the site that he was being forced from his home, would not return, so everything in the house and outside it were free for the taking.  When he arrived home to find people carting things away; he was met by rudeness, an “I don’t care” attitude, “It’s too late now”, and Robert lost about everything.  Gullable people who because of a prank, end up becoming thieves.  I don’t know how this turned out for the people who stole Roberts possessions, or for Robert; but I do know this certainly proves the gullability of people.

Then, there are those who are just out in out thieves.  On March 12 or so, within seven miles of where my wife and I live some Bank Robbers broke into a bank, took a safe, and opened safety deposit boxes.  They did this in the late night, early morning hours, under the cover of darkness.  Isn’t it amazing how evil is done mostly under the cover of darkness.  Dark hearts work best in the dark, I guess.   These thieves broke in the back door of the bank, disarmed the alarm system, spray painted the security cameras, they had turned the outside security cameras backwards.  The more I think about this the more it sounds as though they had help from inside the employment of the bank.  My thoughts only, and a few others probably.  The employees of the bank arrived around 8:00 a.m. to find the back door broken and a mess on the inside.  These thieves had planned this to the max.  They had evidently worn gloves so as not to leave fingerprints.  They had stolen a truck for a while and then left it behind in another location.

Some things like the above really disturb me about people.  It would even worse if I didn’t know that people are all basically evil.  Even myself.  A man whom I know was recently convicted of bad check charges of $500 dollars or more, and sentenced to three years in prison.  I had sat and ate breakfast with him a number of times.  It hurts when you see people do these things.  We are truly an interesting lot.  How God must laugh, and my  how He must cry at times. 

There are so many things happening in this world right now.  All involving people.  Most all are drawn to the gathering of more things.  All on a search for love, and some finding it, and some not. 

Now is the greatest time in the history of man to be the Christian God has called us to be.  Mankind has never had the opportunities which we have now for telling others.  The means I am using right now, this computer, and the internet, are great tools for telling the world about the true source of love.  Love is of God, for “God is love”.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).  Jesus said also, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

People Deportment will not change until people give themselves to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.  Will you turn to Him today?  He died for your sins, was burried, carrying sins away, then He rose from the grave and is forever alive and seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

His Power and Glory

His Power and Glory

Songs as this one are expressions of praise. Following words of question, and God’s answering them the prophet now sees that this whole thing is really about the power and the glory of God.

In verse three we see, “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise”. This song continues as we look at the following three verses.

“And His brightness was as the light; and He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power. Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk 3:4-6 (KJV).

The “brightness… as the light” reveals much about this wonderful, graceful, loving God who has made, and sustains all things. Where there is evil there is darkness, and where there is darkness of the heart, there is evil. The brightness of the light of Christ will drive out darkness. Where the light of God is darkness is not.

Can you imagine singing this song. If only I knew the tune which the prophet had in mind. Yeah, yeah; I know they did it differently than we do, but I would still like to hear Habakkuk sing it. I am certain that this came from his heart. There is nothing like a song sung from the heart. That counts for more than a beautiful singing voice. Also, we often do not listen to the words, but, hear these words. Sunday; when you are singing those hymns, listen to the words. If you listen too closely you may decide you do not want to sing them any more.

“And He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.” Horns are a symbol of power in the Scriptures. Habakkuk is using a picturescue way of describing the power of God’s hand. He is powerful, and that does not describe it wonderfully enough. All-Powerful is a better term, and that term is expressed in the word Omnipotent. All power comes from His hand. The power of any president, king, dictator, or despot comes from God. It is He who gives us all the power we may or may not have. In His hand is where that power is hidden, and can only be seen as He reveals His open hand.

When there is judgment upon the earth it is from His hand. At His hand the pestilence goes before Him. His feet treads out judgment making the way for holiness, righteousness, justice and peace.

It is only this All-Powerful One who can measure the earth. He has in fact already measured, and came up short of His glory. Nations have been driven asunder, and all nations will one day bow before Him. The mountains were scattered, and they are the “Everlasting mountains”. His ways are everlasting, and will out live the mountains.

We have come short of His glory (Romans 3:23). His ways are everlasting, and through faith in Jesus Christ we can rest in His everlasting ways. The judgment of sin has been fully paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. The penalty for sin has been fully paid. All who reject Him stand opposed to His everlasting ways, and will still face His judgment. Repent of your sinful rejection of Jesus and turn to Him, and walk in His everlasting ways.

-by Tim A. Blankenship