…Be Found Of Him In Peace…

“…Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:13-18 (KJB)

Waiting Patiently

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7-8 (KJB)

The farmer prepares the land, the ground where he is sowing a crop, then he sows the seed, and he waits.

What does he wait for? A harvest of much more than he/she has sown in seeds planted.  Some call it a gamble or chance. I call it faith that is based on the basic promise of the rewards of sowing and reaping.

The deeds we do, good and bad, are as seeds we sow.  The good seeds we sow will bring a harvest; but also the bad seeds will bring a harvest.

As I sit here writing this post it is raining.  It is a blessing to the beef,  dairy, and grain farmers around near and far.  The reason I mention this is because it is August, and usually  the month of August is hot and we are in the midst of a drought, or at least really dry. The farmer is very dependent upon the mercies and graces of  our God and Father to even have a crop of hay or grains. Cattle need it to live and produce milk, and meat that is used by billions of people around the world.

The grain farmer waits for months to bring in the harvest from the seed he/she has sown; and the typical gardener as well waits for several weeks before they see a good harvest.  The the average beef farmer produces more cattle through the cattle they have through reproduction, then when those calves are born, they wait until they reach the preferred weight, then they take them to the stockyards for sale to the meat packers.  These also have waited several months.

Anyway, I hope you may be asking; it you do not understand where I am going with this; “What has this farming got to do with me?”  You too are sowing seeds.

There are good seeds in your life’s living; and there are bad seeds in your life.  If you have not been redeemed by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ your seeds are bad, and your harvest will be weeds and destruction (Galatians 6:7-8). Your harvest will be delayed too. Someone has said, “There are many sowing their wild oats, and then pray for a crop failure.” I understand that.  There will, however be a harvest; one without great reward.

Good seed comes from the word of God through the Living Word who is Jesus Christ. There is a bountiful, beautiful harvest for all the good seed sown.  Again there will be waiting. Believer, let us wait patiently for that harvest.  We will not know how much, or how great until Jesus comes again; but we wait.

Waiting does not mean sitting down, and doing nothing.  We must be all the more diligent in our labors for life, living, and our witness for Jesus Christ. Let us be faithful in our living to Jesus.  He is coming, and could be very soon.

Having a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.  For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.”  Proverbs 28:1-7  (KJB)

Having a Just Society – Proverbs 28:1-28

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

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

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

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

Our Lives are About God, Jesus Christ, Heaven

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, ‘The enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and glory in their shame, who mind earthly things.’)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Philippians 3:17-21

REFERENCES: Galatians 1:7; Hosea 4:7; 2 Corinthians 11:12; 1 John 3:1-3

Words of the Prophets – Zechariah

Jerusalem Safely Inhabited

“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.”  Zechariah 14:8-15 (KJV)

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction – Proverbs 11:15-31

Verse 15 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary:

“To be surety for a stranger means to guarantee his debt or his promissory note. The person who does this will suffer for it, that is, he will pay a stinging penalty. The man who hates suretyship saves himself a lot of headaches.”

The note from chapter 6:1-5:

“The first five verses are a warning against becoming surety, that is, making oneself liable for someone else’s debt in case that other person is unable to pay. Suppose your friend wants to buy a car on the installment plan but doesn’t have much of a credit rating. The loan company demands the signature of someone who can pay in case the borrower defaults. The neighbor comes to you and asks you to cosign the note with him. This means that you will pay if he doesn’t.

The friend in this verse is your neighbor. The stranger is the loan company to which you give your guarantee.”

Verses 16 – 21 –  Study notes from the ESV Study Bible:

“Proverbs 11:16-21 There are three pairs of proverbs here (vv. 16–17, 18–19, 20–21), all relating to a common theme. The gracious woman (v. 16) and the man who is kind (v. 17) contrast with violent men (v. 16) and the cruel man (v. 17). By itself, v. 16 might suggest that there is wisdom in pursuing violence, since one can get rich by that means. But in the larger context of vv. 16–21, it is clear that their wealth brings the violent no happiness, and that it comes at a high price. The idea of striving to gain something governs vv. 18–19. Verse 18 speaks of laboring (earns and sows), whether it be for deceptive wages for the evil or for a sure reward for the good. Verse 19, similarly, speaks of pursuing righteousness or evil and of the results that follow. Verses 20 and 21 both concern divine judgment, with punishment for the evil and deliverance for the good.”

Verse 22 – Note from ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 11:22 The attractiveness of a gold ring would be nullified by its strange presence in the snout of a pig. This image turns typical notions of value on their head: the attractiveness of a beautiful woman is insignificant if there is a lack of discretion in her character (see 31:30).”

Verse 23 –  From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“This tells us what the desire and expectation of the righteous and of the wicked are and how they will prove, what they would have and what they shall have. 1. The righteous would have good, only good; all they desire is that it may go well with all about them; they wish no hurt to any, but happiness to all; as to themselves, their desire is not to gratify any evil lust, but to obtain the favour of a good God and to preserve the peace of a good conscience; and good they shall have, that good which they desire, Ps. 37:4. 2. The wicked would have wrath; they desire the woeful day, that God’s judgments may gratify their passion and revenge, may remove those that stand in their way, and that they may make an advantage to themselves by fishing in troubled waters; and wrath they shall have, so shall their doom be. They expect and desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves; as they loved cursing, they shall have enough of it.”

Verses 24 – 26 –  From The MacArthur Study Bible –

“11:24-26 scatters, yet increases.  The principle here is that generosity, by God’s blessing, secures increase, while stinginess leads to poverty instead of expected gain.  The one who gives receives far more in return (Ps. 112:9;  Eccl. 11:1;  John 12:24-25;  Acts 20:35;  2 Cor. 9:6-9).” pg. 892
Verses 27 – 31 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary for verse 27; “When a man’s motives are pure and unselfish, he wins the esteem of others. But the man who is out to cause trouble for others will get it for himself.”

The commentary of John Gill for verse 28 –

“He that trusteth in his riches shall fall,…. As leaves in autumn, which are withered and dry. To trust in riches is to trust in uncertain things; things not to be depended on, being here today and gone tomorrow; it is like leaning upon a broken staff, which giving way, the person falls: and so the fall of Babylon will be, while she is trusting in and boasting of her riches and grandeur, Rev_18:7;

but the righteous shall flourish as a branch; that abides in the tree, is alive and green, full of leaves, and laden with fruit: so the righteous are as branches in Christ, and receive life and nourishment from him, and abide in him; and bring forth fruit and flourish, like palm trees and cedars, in the house of the Lord, and grow in every grace, and in the knowledge of Christ; see Jer_17:7.

“For verse 29 and from the Adam Clarke’s Commentary;

“Shalt inherit the wind – He who dissipates his property by riotous living, shall be as unsatisfied as he who attempts to feed upon air.”
For verse 31 see also 1 Peter 4:18.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Praying For Knowledge

Praying For Knowledge

Colossians 1:9

I. THERE IS A DESTRUCTION FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.“ Hosea 4:6 (KJV).

A. “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.“ Prov 19:2 (KJV).
B. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (be mature).“ 1 Cor 14:20 (KJV).
C. Without knowledge you cannot know what is truth.

“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.“ Isaiah 5:13 (KJV).

II. BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE.

A. The Bible speaks of being ‘Filled with sorrow’ –

“But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.“ John 16:6 (KJV).

B. The Bible speaks of being ‘filled with fear’ –

“And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26 (KJV).

C. There is the term ‘filled with rage’ –

“And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.“ Luke 6:11 (KJV).

D. Then, last but not least of which is ‘Filled with the Spirit –

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“ Eph 5:18 (KJV).

1. The filling represents total control.
2. Being filled with knowledge would then, have you and me under control of Biblical and godly knowledge.
a. That means when we are ‘filled with knowledge’ when the “Know-it-alls” [Gnostics] surround us; when they overwhelm us; when they belittle us; and tell us, “You know nothing”, we are knowledgeable and can stand on the truth of the knowledge we have of God from His Word.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL.

A. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find and know the will of God.
B. There are seven things for which we can be certain is the will of God for our lives:

It is God’s will that we be Saved –

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV).

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“ 1 Tim 2:4 (KJV).

It is God’s will that we be Spirit filled – (Eph. 5:18);

It is God’s will that we be Sanctified –

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:“ 1 Thess 4:3 (KJV).

It is the will of God that we be Submissive –

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:“ 1 Peter 2:13-15 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Suffering –

“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.“ 1 Peter 4:19 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Serving –

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV);

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Eph 4:1 (KJV);

If we are faithful in following these six elements of God’s will then it is what ever we desire.

“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.“ Prov. 16:3 (KJV); and

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart “ Psalms 37:4 (KJV).

John MacArthur writes,

“How does a person obtain knowledge? First, he must desire it. In John 7:17 Jesus says, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ That thought is echoed in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.’ Second, he must depend on the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12). Finally, he must study the Scriptures, for they make the believer ‘adequate, equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Perhaps the most graphic text related to the pursuit of divine truth is Job 28.”  From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary -Colossians & Philemon p.29

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

A. In an age of careless theology where people make their own god and interpretation of Scriptures the wisdom of God is greatly needed.
1. Scriptures, nor personal experiences can be properly understood by the question – What does this say to me?.
2. Scripture must interpret Scripture, comparing spiritual with spiritual, and personal experience in light of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13-14).
B. With wisdom we collect and organize principles taught in Scripture.
C. With understanding we apply these principles to daily living.

John MacArthur writes, “Having knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living. What controls your thoughts will control your behavior. Self-control is a result of mind-control which is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

SUMMARY –

I. CHRISTIANS WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF GOD AND HIS WORD.

II. BEING FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…WILL ENABLE US TO DEFEND THE TRUTH, STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND BE VIBRANT AND DILIGENT WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.

III. HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL WILL FULFILL OUR BEING AND WE WILL BE MOST SATISFIED IN CHRIST, AND WILL GLORIFY HIM.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. John Piper

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING IS NECESSARY IN A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF DARKNESS, AND THE COMING OF CHRIST DRAWS NEARER.

V. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR YOU NEED HIM NOW.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Power of Words

Words are like bullets; once fired off they cannot be recalled.  Once spoken you cannot call a word back.  We can say, “I’m sorry”, but that word still is there in the mind of the one it was spoken to.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  That is not true.  Yes!  We can shrug them off, and go on, but the hurt is still there.

It is so much more loving, merciful, kind, and Christ like to give a word of encouragement, thanks, or praise; then a bitter, angry, or destroying word.  The question is – Do we want to build? or Do we want to destroy?

Hear the wisdom of Proverbs…

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:10-21 (KJV)

Remember Jesus’s words in the sermon on the mount…

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:21-22

When we speak unloving, unkind, hateful words we speak death; not life.  See what Jesus says above “…Shall be  in danger of hell fire.”

Further thoughts…

Verses 10 – 11 – The LORD is the source of many to trust in.  He is whom many who have called on the name of the Lord for salvation have run to.  Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions. An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).

Verses 12 – 21 – You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17. Verse 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc. Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.

In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.

There is reward; or destruction in our use of words. They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.

There is much said in Scripture of words, the mouth, the lips, the tongue.  It is with great joy I can tell you of the Living Word, and that is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as the God-Man, and gave His life to redeem you and me from our sins that we might live eternally.  Call on His name. Believe Him and be saved.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and Four

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)

Life is easier if you are going with the flow, going down stream, rather than against the flow, or up stream; but that is the way most people are going; that is, with the flow.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want you to know there is only one way to life, living, and true peace and happiness; and to life eternal; and that is through the cross: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that He is the narrow way; and that the other way only leads to death, destruction, and torment.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the rioting, destruction of government, public, personal, and business property to cease and desist in the United States of America, and for us to defend the freedom of speech and religion across this nation.

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth. Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.” Psalm 11:5-7 (KJV)

W4CL – Crucified

“For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  Galations 2:18-21 (KJV)

As Christians we too often forget that the life we live in Christ is due to the crucifixion of Christ and His bodily resurrection.  It is imperative that we also see that we are “Crucified with Christ” (v. 20); and because we are crucified with Him we will also, one day reign with Him (Romans 8:17), because we are also, “Risen with Christ” (Colossians 3:1).

As a Christian we do not enjoy sin; we are dead to it – “Crucified with Christ”, and have been raised again by His resurrection.  Because of His resurrection we grow in love with Christ; closer to Him and His likeness, and grow further from sin and its destruction.

I am crucified with Christ. 

Words for Christian Living – Edification

“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.”  2 Corinthians 13:10 (KJV)

A lot of times as a pastor, preacher of the gospel there will be times things within the Church, the local congregation you lead with strike up a hot response in your heart.  There are things that go on sometimes that ought to make us angry.  We see a family angry at another family; one member mad with another member; and they are casting insults at one another.  Maybe one member maligning another when the other being maligned is not guilty of much, or anything that is being charged.  It could be a member you know is in personal sin.  These things should cause some anger, with self-control [temperance] from the pastor, preacher.

In the above verse Paul has expressed that he should use “Sharpness”  or “Severe reproofs and censures… the exercise of the apostolic rod” (John Gill Commentary e-Sword).  You will note his words though “To edification”.  It should never be the intent of correction, reproof, rebuke to destroy; but to always edify.  To build up takes more effort than tearing down.  Sometimes tearing down is necessary, but the ultimate end is for “Edification”

For Lack of Knowledge

It seems there are many who are desirous for much knowledge in the world of 2012.  We are more knowledgeable today than at any time in the history of mankind.  We have learned the chemical makeup of water and salt; and a whole lot of other things too.  Some of which are or have been destructive.  We have even gained the knowledge to split the invisible atom, and make nuclear weapons and power plants.

The knowledge of these things; good or bad; has made us appear to be up and coming onto being gods of our own lives.  Many are; in their own eyes “In control” and “In charge” of their own destiny.  They assume these things because of “Lack of Knowledge”.  It is the knowledge of God; knowing God, and being known by Him which really counts for eternity.  Hear what the prophet Hosea has written,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hosea 4:6 (KJV)

You may have gained the knowledge of God and His love at an early age, but you have gone your own way.  God is calling you to return to Him.  You may have the knowledge of great things which man has made, but do you know the One who has made man, and holds us in His hands?  He loves you, and sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for you, was buried and He rose again.  One day He is returning.  Call on His name.  He will hear.  He will save.

-T.A.

Praying For Knowledge

Colossians 1:9

I. THERE IS A DESTRUCTION FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.“ Hosea 4:6 (KJV).

A. “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.“ Prov 19:2 (KJV).
B. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men (be mature).“ 1 Cor 14:20 (KJV).
C. Without knowledge you cannot know what is truth.

“Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.“ Isaiah 5:13 (KJV).

II. BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE.

A. The Bible speaks of being ‘Filled with sorrow’ – “But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.“ John 16:6 (KJV).
B. The Bible speaks of being ‘filled with fear’ – “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26 (KJV).
C. There is the term ‘filled with rage’ – “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.“ Luke 6:11 (KJV).
D. Then, last but not least of which is ‘Filled with the Spirit – “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;“ Eph 5:18 (KJV).

1. The filling represents total control.
2. Being filled with knowledge would then, have you and me under control of knowledge.

a. That means when we are ‘filled with knowledge’ when the “Know-it-alls” [Gnostics] surround us; when they overwhelm us; when they belittle us; and tell us, “You know nothing”, we are knowledgeable and can stand on the truth of the knowledge we have of God from His Word.

III. KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL.

A. Sometimes, it is a struggle to find and know the will of God.
B. There are seven things for which we can be certain is the will of God for our lives:

The first time I heard of these seven things I believe, were from a message by John MacArthur, then I read them in a study of Spiritual Gifts.

It is God’s will that we be Saved – “ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.“ 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV). “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.“ 1 Tim 2:4 (KJV).

It is God’s will that we be Spirit filled – (Eph. 5:18);

It is God’s will that we be Sanctified – “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:“ 1 Thess 4:3 (KJV).

It is the will of God that we be Submissive – “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:“ 1 Peter 2:13-15 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Suffering – “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.“ 1 Peter 4:19 (KJV);

It is the will of God that we be Serving – “ As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.“ 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV); “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” Eph 4:1 (KJV);

If we are faithful in following these six elements of God’s will then it is what ever we desire. “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.“ Prov. 16:3 (KJV); and “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart “ Psalms 37:4 (KJV).

John MacArthur writes,

“How does a person obtain knowledge? First, he must desire it. In John 7:17 Jesus says, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ That thought is echoed in Hosea 6:3, “Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.’ Second, he must depend on the Holy Spirit. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-12). Finally, he must study the Scriptures, for they make the believer ‘adequate, equipped for every good work’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Perhaps the most graphic text related to the pursuit of divine truth is Job 28.”  From The MacArthur New Testament Commentary -Colossians & Philemon p.29

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING.

A. In an age of careless theology where people make their own god and interpretation of Scriptures the wisdom of God is greatly needed.

1. Scriptures, nor personal experiences can be properly understood by the question – What does this say to me?.
2. Scripture must interpret Scripture, comparing spiritual with spiritual, and personal experience in light of Scripture (1 Cor. 2:13-14).

B. With wisdom we collect and organize principles taught in Scripture.
C. With understanding we apply these principles to daily living.

John MacArthur writes,

“Having the knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living. What controls your thoughts will control your behavior. Self-control is a result of mind-control which is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Ibid p. 29ff

SUMMARY –

I. CHRISTIANS WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM OF GOD AND HIS WORD.
II. BEING FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD…WILL ENABLE US TO DEFEND THE TRUTH, STAND FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND BE VIBRANT AND DILIGENT WITNESSES FOR CHRIST.
III. HAVING THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL WILL FULFILL OUR BEING AND WE WILL BE MOST SATISFIED IN CHRIST, AND WILL GLORIFY HIM.

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. John Piper

IV. WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING IS NECESSARY IN A WORLD THAT IS FULL OF DARKNESS, AND THE COMING OF CHRIST DRAWS NEARER.
V. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR YOU NEED HIM NOW.

-T.A.

Day 52 – The Sovereign Holy One of Israel

There is one phrase which keeps coming up in the prophecy of Isaiah.  It is more than a phrase, it is a statement of the character of God.  In Isaiah, as well as in other parts of Scripture we hear of “the Holy One of Israel”.  It is a good term, a great reference to the character of the Creator of all that is; both seen and unseen.  As I read chapters 35 – 48 of Isaiah this morning I noticed the presence of God in the nations around the tiny nation of Israel.  You really cannot help but notice that God is God of the world when it gets right down to it.

If God reigns, and he does, in Israel; then, He also is reigning throughout the whole world.  He is, though, not often recognized as being the one who is reigning.

In chapters 36 – 39 we hear about Hezekiah, and his struggle against the pride, and arrogance of Assyria, and her king Sennacherib (36:1).  No army had been successful against the Assyrian army, and the king wanted Hezekiah to know it.  In his arrogance he blasphemed the God of Israel, seeing Him as nothing more than the idols of the fallen nations he had conquered.  However, since God is defensive of His own glory, and Hezekiah had a heart for God, then God was not going to let this arrogant king get by with it.

We also see in the reading that God is not at all well pleased with Israel, and that they are going into captivity because of their rejection of God, His Word, and His ways. Babylon was God’s source of captivity and judgment upon Israel, however Babylon showed them no mercy, and in their arrogance they brought judgment of God upon themselves to destruction;

“I was wroth with My people, I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.  And thou saidst, ‘I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.’  Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.  For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, ‘None seeth me.’ Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I am, and none else beside me.’   Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.   Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.  Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.” Isaiah 47:6-13 (KJV)

If you will notice this announcement of judgment is due to “thou didst shew them no mercy”.  Because of this Babylon would fall to a king that God names in chapers 44 and 45;

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

“Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut…” 45:1

The LORD is THE SOVEREIGN HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL; however He is Sovereign of the whole world, yea, even of the Universe.  A final word in the reading for today says this,

“There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 (KJV)

The wicked are all those who refuse to submit to the Lordship and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and His finished work on Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 29 – The Pride and a Fall

It is written in Proverbs, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).  Pride even gets into the hearts and minds of the best among us; and that is never more clear to me than when I was reading in 2 Chronicles 23 – 36 this morning.

I read of several kings, three of which, Uzziah, Hezekiah, and Josiah were noted as “Doing what was right in the sight of the LORD”; and they did wonderful things to restore Judah and Jerusalem to the right worship of the LORD.  The LORD prospered them, the nation and the city because of the fine works of these godly kings.  The death of Uzziah is mourned by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 6.

Uzziah, however became prideful.  Hear what the Scripture says of him –

“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” 2 Chronicles 26:16 (KJV)

In his pride he usurped the office of the priest; an office that did not belong to him; nor a work that was his.  When Uzziah was approached, and rebuked by the chief priest Azariah it is like he had the attitude, “I am king.  Who do you think you are correcting the king?”

“And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him.  And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.”  26:20-21

Uzziah died a leper, due to his prideful fall.

King Hezekiah too is recognized as a king who did what “…was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done” (29:2).  King Hezekiah brought back the Passover, and brought back a unity between part of the people of the Northern kingdom of Israel (30:1-12).  Hezekiah did many wonderful things in Judah and Jerusalem, and God blessed him greatly; yet his heart became prideful;

“In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and He spake unto him, and He gave him a sign.   But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.  Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” 32:24-25

We also see that God did something in the life of Hezekiah which we may find a bit puzzling;

“Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” 32:31 (See 2 Kings 20:12-19)

What I am referring to is the phrase, “God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart.”  Have you ever had a time when it seemed the Lord had “left” you?  It was probably a test.  It is a time of God’s silence.  Your real heart and mind will be revealed during those times.  The warning here is be cautious, very cautious of pride.

Now, let us look at Josiah who was only eight years of age when he became king of Judah, and he too “…did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father…” (34:1-2).  Josiah heard the word of the LORD, after the reading of it, called the nation to repentance, and was promised to die in peace (34:21-28).

For some reason, and I believe this to be an element of his pride, though it is not named; the king sees a battle that is not his, and he goes to war against Necho, king of Egypt.  The Egyptian kings sends ambassadors saying to Josiah,

“After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.  But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, ‘What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.’   Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.  And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, ‘Have me away; for I am sore wounded.’   His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.” 2 Chronicles 35:20-24 (KJV)

Josiah goes against the word of the LORD by the prophet (34:21-28), and proceeds to war when he has none to fight.  O, the futility, and death that pride brings.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God humbled Himself to the point of death, and went to the cross to die for the sins of the world; mine and yours; He was buried, and rose bodily from the grave, and He still lives, exalted at the Father’s right hand.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Day of the LORD is at Hand

The title comes from Isaiah 13:6.  Yes, I am doing some catch up work here.  On Sunday nights at Carr Lane Baptist I have been preaching through the Prophecy of Isaiah, however, I have not been prone to publish on the blog until now.  I pray you will be able to follow along and get them in order if you need to do so.

Chapter 13 begins a series of messages from the prophet to foreign nations  who have not heard the LORD God; and mistreated the people of God known as Israel or Judah, and continues through chapter 23.  From Babylon to Tyre, and includes God’s anger toward His people as well in chapter 22.

Chapter 13 and 14 deals with Babylon, which at this point in history was not considered a world power, yet it would become so, in about a hundred years.  How did Isaiah know this?  By the Word and wisdom of the LORD of hosts.

Babylon would be a proud and arrogant people; worshipping their own deities which were in signs in the stars, the stars, and idols made of human hands.

In many ways Babylon represents the world and its arrogance against God and His people.  The world, its inhabitants, its governments often have no friendly hand toward God’s people; be they Christian or Hebrew.  We see this quite often in many foreign lands today where Christians are persecuted for their faith.  Where we are not free to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and many brothers and sisters die for their faith.

We see it often in history concerning the Hebrew people.  One instance of great persecution against the Hebrew people is in the death camps of Hitler.  The numbers of murdered Hebrews during that time of holocaust in Germany.  It was a growing problem throughout the history of man.  No one of the surrounding nations wanted the Jewish people around.  They worshipped the one true God, and He is the only way to paradise or heaven.

“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”  Isaiah 13:6 (KJV)

The warning is to Babylon and their destruction should they fail to heed God’s warning.

If you will notice the very things which they admire and worship are taken from them.  “The stars of heaven and the constellations will not give their light…” (v. 10), the sun darkened.  Now I don’t know how this was done; and it is most likely a prophetic word which has yet to take place and the prophecy is basically to the world itself for turning their back on the message of God, His Word and His servants and His people.  With the same judgment they have wreaked out so shall they receive like judgment.  Remember even Jesus said, “Judge not, that  you be not judged”  (Matthew 7:1) and God will carry out His judgment to the fullest extent, and will let sin run its course (SEE verses 15-16).  Babylon will fall by the power of the Medes (Daniel 5:30-31).

The kingdom of Babylon as it was known in that day has fallen, just as God has said.  It was a glorious nation of wealth, gold, jewels, many riches.  It was full of pride.  God says, “…Her days shall not be prolonged” (v. 22).

The days of pride and arrogance of the world will come to an end.  God’s glory will be seen by all, rejoiced in by all who love Him, His Word and His people. His kingdom will be prolonged for all eternity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The End Of The World???

With a movie out called 2012, and other movies which have been made proclaiming the possibilities of the “end of the world” (Armegeddon, The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, etc) it seems there are children who are thinking the earth and all the people on it are in danger of total destruction.

The movies I have seen on this issue remind me of a cartoon.  Wiley Coyote, and the Roadrunner; where Wiley chases the Coyote, falls over a cliff with an anvil, to the bottom of a very deep canyon, with the anvil nailing him on his head, and he goes on to chase the Roadrunner in one more episode.  Laughable, entertaining, helping you forget; or put aside for a short time;  some real life situations.

Something we should take note of is that many who espouse the “Global warming” idea, and that if we don’t do something about it will mean “the end of the world”.  What I think we should notice is that some of these same “Scientist”, speculators; whatever they are; are also evolutionists who say by that theory that “The world is getting better and better”, and that “mankind is evolving toward becoming a better species”, and yet they warn us of destroying the earth.  Isn’t that a contradiction of thought and terms.  Just how could things be getting better and better, yet at the same time destroying the earth.

Something we need to think about is this:  The world will not end in 2012, or anytime in the near future.  I believe this because of the promises of a grand ole book.  He has told us in that book that He will not allow the destruction of the earth.  He is going to come, make all things new, changing the world as we know it, and He Himself will rule in this world and all evil will be put away.

That is the promises of the Word of God – the Bible.  The world is not coming to and end, but your life could end before the next beat of your heart, or your next breath.  The only assurances we have are found in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.  Call on His name and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD Knows…

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1 (KJV).

This Psalm is one of my favorites.  It is one that lingers in my memory.  I do not know that I set out to purposely memorize it, but it is there.  The collection of the Psalms are words of encouragement, hope, and you see the hearts of the writers of the Psalms.

David is known to be the human author of most of these writings of Biblical poetry, but it is  also known that some of them were written by Moses, Asaph, and maybe another one or two.  We do know and believe that these are words which are inspired by God Himself.  They would not be present in the Canon of Scripture if they were not.

This first verse of the Psalms begins with a “Blessed” or “Happy”.  This would be the individual who is fulfilled.  This individual does not seek ungodly counsel from others, nor do they go to the ungodly seeking godly counsel.

This individual does not have dealings with the rebellious and wicked; taking a bold stand against immorality.  The places where the “Blessed” individual stands is upon the Word of God, in places that lift up the Lord.  The place of the “Blessed” individual’s seating is where God is seated.

The ’scornful’ are those who make a mockery of God, and scoff at all who profess Him and godliness.  An individual usually sits, comfortably where they live.  The “Blessed” individual lives in the presence of the LORD God.

Everyone “Delights” in something.  There is something that you can hardly do without, maybe a new car, new house, new suit of clothes, more money,  more of anything, that you perceive as good.  We can get our hearts set on something, and that becomes our “Delight”.

Gulom of the Lord of the Rings story had his “Delight” on the Ring of power.  J.R. R. Tolkein wrote the story, and it shows an analogy of the power of sin in our lives.  Gulom had been a normal hobbit until the Ring was found and he murdered his friend, took the Ring, and became a creeping, rock crawling, pale, almost sickening being.  The picture is surely that sin will destroy you.  To Gulom, the Ring was his “Precious”.  That was his delight.

In Psalm 1:2 the Psalmist writes, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”  We  have been told in verse one what this individual does not do; now we see what this godly individual does.

She/he holds no “Delight” in the wickedness of the world or its things.  The heart has been reborn.  The more the “Delight” is in the “law of the LORD” the less these things of the world become anything of importance.  The law of the LORD is something the man and woman of God delights in.  They meditate on it day and night.

To wake up thinking Scripturally.  To go to bed at night thinking Biblically.  What a wonderful “Delight” it is.  The Word of God is more precious than anything this world has to give.  DELIGHT IN THE LAW OF THE LORD.  Within its pages you find life and eternal life.  It will take you to the person of Jesus.  Sin will hold no power on you.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  Psalm 1:3 (KJV).

Have you ever noticed trees by streams of water during a drought?  Trees on the hillside away from the streams often begin to look a little dry, and sometimes leaves begin to fade, but the trees by the streams never fade in the heat of drought.  The Psalmist paints us a lovely picture of the follower of Christ Jesus who stays in, abides in, continues in the Word of God.  He/She “delights in the law of the LORD”, and when troubles come they just keep on ticking.

The fruit will keep on coming despite droughts, despite hardships, and even despite the storms, though the storms may cause severe damage.  The one who keeps themselves in the Word, the law, the way of the LORD will also prosper in all they do.  Do remember that prosperity is not always in things, but peace, comfort, encouragement, love, wisdom, grace, mercy, etc..

Just as the tree planted by the rivers of water is always at the mercy of the stream which flows by so too is the follower at the mercy of the One whose Word we read, hear and practice.  We/You are always in His hands.

There is such evil in our world at times.  Murders happen each and every day and even in each hour of the day.  Some of which we never hear about.  There are many crimes done to other human beings, of whom all are made in the image and likeness of God, and by God Himself.  He alone gives life, and He alone can justly take a life.

“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”  Psalm 1:4 (KJV).

We have seen the blessedness of the one who walks with God, and that she/he delights in the law [Word] of the LORD meditating in it day and night; and that this individual is like a tree planted by the rivers of water.  Now that is quite refreshing to a child of God; to know that whatsoever they do shall prosper.

There is a somewhat sad statement, yet, a statement that should encourage us as well.  The encouraging thing about verse four is that God will judge wickedness, and will not let it go unpunished.  The sad thing is that there are those who are “Ungodly”.

The “Ungodly” are those who will set out to oppose all that is godly, righteous, just, and of God.  Whether we want to admit this or not they do exist.  A few years ago we  heard of a group who on a website asks for those who will commit the “Unpardonable sin” to sin against the Spirit of God and forever condemn their soul.  The ungodly are those who just completely reject the love, grace, mercy, and cross of Jesus Christ.

These are as the waste of the wheat as it is thrashed.  When the winds of life and God’s judgment comes are driven away.  May God save those who will hear Him, and believe.

In the first Psalm we see the blessedness of the one who is right with God.  They do not seek ungodly counsel, nor do they participate in sinful endeavors, nor try to rule with the scornful or as the scornful.  The “Blessed” are those whose “…delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night”.  Those who do this are strong, supplied, and sufficient for all things.

“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” Psalm 1:5 (KJV).

The ungodly and the sinner are the same.  They are not right with God.  Their delight is to do the things that gratify their emotions, thinking, lust, greed, and power.  These are ones who will not hardly hesitate to use a friend, sometimes even a family member or spouse, or co-worker to gain what they desire; what they delight in.  They certainly have no desire for God.  God would be an interruption in their life.

The path of the ungodly and the sinner is that they will not be able to stand before God in the judgment with their good deeds.  They will be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:11-14;  v. 12), and will not be able to give any reason for their unbelieving hearts.  There will be no room for the ungodly and the sinner “…in the congregation of the righteous”.

Who are the righteous?  All those who have come to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, and received the righteousness of Christ and have been raised together with Him, for all eternity.

Sin definitely has a hold on the human race.  Why many do not want to see it is beyond reason.  One Monday morning at Virginia Tech, in April 2007, we saw the results of sin, and there is only one answer for sin.  The life of a perfect sacrifice.  And we are not it.

“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish”  Psalm 1:6 (KJV).

Cho Sueng-Hui a student with a visa from South Korea went into a dorm and killed two fellow students.  He, then proceeded to Norris Hall where students and teachers were gathered for classes, and shot and killed thirty more, and then, turned the gun on himself.  This man does not need my condemnation, nor anyone else.  He is condemned far greater than anything you or I could.  He is forever in the absence of God’s presence.

Those who have become so encumbered by sin that they follow its call will do almost anything.  Let no one say, “I could not/would not ever do what that man did”.  You just might.  As long as you turn a deaf ear to the Lord; your heart will grow hard, heavy, and madness of evil can easily set in.  You could find yourself doing all kinds of evil, that you never dreamed possible.  You say you don’t believe in evil.  Do not be deceived.  You saw it take place on Monday morning April 16, 2007, and every morning before and since that dreadful day.  Evil is more powerful than you or I can deal with alone.  The end of evil is destruction.

The LORD knows ‘the way of the righteous’;  He should because He directs the way of the righteous.  The LORD does not direct the righteous to kill, maim or destroy.  He directs the righteous to live godly, holy, and sanctified lives for His glory, and calls us to call others unto Him.  The way of the righteous is also the way of peace, mercy, justice, love, joy, gentleness, patience, self control.  They show forth those things which have been called the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Backsliding Lot

Backsliding By Looking Only On the Surface

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” Genesis 13:10-13 (KJV).

When Lot heard the words of Abram he was thrilled. What ever land he would choose was his. Lot, like most people looked only on the surface of things; he looked at the fertility of the land without looking at the ultimate price that would be paid. He did not know what was in the future, however, it was evidently known by him of the depravity, perversity, and immoral behavior permeating the area. He was only considering the material without any consideration to the destruction this could bring to his family.

Lot did not even consider the Lord in the choosing. he “lifted up his eyes” guided by his desire for the material and led his family to destruction. Finally, now Abram was “Separated” from his kindred as the Lord had directed when He first called.

The infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have a story and a history that warns all who will read and hear it. It is hard to imagine a man, whom God calls “Just” (2 Peter 2:7), would become a part of the wickedness. Maybe it should not be so hard, because many Christians put themselves in situations similar to Lot, because they have been carried away by the lust of their hearts, rather than being led and controlled by God’s Spirit.

Lot may not have been an actual participant in their sin, though by his silence, and his “leadership” he condoned the behavior. He could have warned the people of their wickedness, but instead he adapted.

The phrase “Pitched his tent” means to make his abode; his habitation with. We know from God’s Word we are not to “Dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalm 84:10b); but to “…Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

Lot bore little fruit. Maybe the only fruit he had was faith, and it was small because he did not exercise it. The way to bear fruit is to abide [make our habitation] in Jesus. He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in Me.” John 15:4

THE HAPPINESS OF THE REVELATION (2)

THE HAPPY DEAD

Revelation 14:13

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (KJV).There is happiness in death to the self, giving all for Christ, possibly even dying for the faith, and ultimate happiness when our salvation is completed at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

Does the above statement shock you. Death is our enemy according to Scripture, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor 15:26 (KJV). The “death” of the above statement is the giving of one’s self for Christ’s sake.

In our day of modern technology there are many who have an innate fear of death. Maybe that is as it should be. Death tends to remind us that we are but finite (limited) beings, and uncertain of what lies beyond. That is shown in our technology, which appears at times to lengthen man’s life span.

It seems that man has always sought for a “Fountain of Youth”. It also seems, that in the minds of many, the new “Fountain of Youth” is modern technology. People fearful of growing old are almost shameful of their age. There are some who have made request, that upon their death their body be frozen in hopes that in some future day their body can be revived and cured of the ailment which caused their demise. There was, at one time a great effort at promoting “Cryogenic labs” which provided the service of freezing the dead. If you were rich enough and foolish enough to believe such things. I have not heard much about it in recent days.

The one who has faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ should know that for them death is an enemy which has been defeated. It cannot hold us, and escape from it is not provided by any of the technological advances of man. For the believer death is to be “Absent from the body, present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). Why would any sensible person want to continue in a body wracked by pain, a life filled with tragedy and sorrow? Let me clarify something – Life is in God’s hands, and it is He and He alone who gives life, and He is the only one who has the right to take it, or those to whom He has given authority (Read Romans 13:1-7).

Who are “The Happy Dead”? Those who are dead to the self life, and living for Jesus. Those who while physically alive chose Jesus’ life for their life, and lived for Him, but whose bodies are now in the grave, and their spirits are in the presence of the Lord who will one day bring the spirits with Him to rejoin them with their bodies, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” (1 Thes. 4:14 (KJV).

Why should we call them “The Happy Dead”? or Why are they “The Happy Dead”?

In the first place THEY HAVE A PASSION FOR GOD. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 (KJV). “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Cor 15:31 (KJV). They receive that passion before their bodies return to the earth from which they came. The one’s who are in Christ Jesus have given their lives to Him for the cause of Christ and eternity. In doing this it shows their passion for Jesus. Their hearts are on Jesus, for Jesus, and not just to gain eternity, but because of it. Those who have died in Christ Jesus are now in His presence and enjoying happiness beyond our mortal understanding.

Secondly, THEY HAVE A PLACE WITH GOD. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalms 116:15 (KJV). Through faith in Jesus and the finished work of the cross we are promised a place (John 14:1-3). Those who have a promised place with God throughout eternity have given Him a permanent place in their lives. They spend time daily in fellowship with Him. Reading, studying, meditating, and living by His Word – led by the Holy Spirit. They have found strength for living by Jesus living His life in them. There is no place four with God in the life of the wicked, but God does not joy in that, “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezek 18:32 (KJV). He desires for all to come to salvation in Jesus.

Thirdly, THEY HAVE THE PEACE OF GOD. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7 (KJV). “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Heb 4:9-11 (KJV). Those who believe come to a place in their lives where they relaize that all their labors (for salvation) are in vain. They will realize that if they are to have the “Peace of God” they will cease from their own labors and completely trust in the finished work of grace by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

Last, but certainly not exhausted, THEY HAVE THE PRAISE OF GOD. “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt 25:21 (KJV). “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt 25:23 (KJV). “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt 25:34 (KJV). God rewards those who are always faithful with that which He has given them. Your salvation is the greatest gift He has given. It could be asked, “What can I do faithfully with my salvation?” The answer for that is, “Do all that is in your ability and the power of the Holy Spirit to grow into the image of Christ”. Reading the Scriptures, praying, praising, witnessing, living the life that will honor and glorify Christ. Be faithful with the material blessings God has given. We all must remember that the praises of men have a short duration, but the praises of God are eternal. The praises of God begin when you act on faith in God’s Word. When there is sin in your life – agree with God. When it concerns the matter of salvation; it is only a work of God and God alone – agree with God. When God says, “This is my Son, your Savior” – agree with God. When you are in agreement with God you are walking with Him. When you do not agree with God you are away from Him.

In conclusion, the people who are THE HAPPY DEAD are those who realize their position in Christ Jesus. These are a people who are dead to the self-life and alive in Jesus. These are also a people who know that victory over death is their’s through Jesus Christ our Lord.