He is Unchanging and Glorious

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:4-8

In this article, we see words of encouragement through the reminder that God is immutable – unchanging. The whole of the Revelation is for the encouragement of believers of all ages. To the Christians who are enduring trial, and persecutions in our day it is truly encouraging to know that God is unchanging, and is the true source of courage, hope, and ultimate fulfillment of His promises.

Is there anything in life which we can count on? Clothing fashions change from day to day. The economy flourishes or we suffer depression, or somewhere in between. People’s attitudes change, about situations and other people. Even the planet earth on which we live is unstable. Think of the hurricanes, tsunami’s, earthquakes – you get the picture.

We can trust in the immutability of God. He never changes. Since He never changes His laws are still the same, His expections of His people are still the same as they have always been, and His character is flawless, so He is fully trustworthy. We may not be able to trust kings and leaders of our state and community, and even of our churches, at times, but we can have the utmost confidence and trust in the One who never changes. The Lord Jesus Christ.

His grace has always been abundant. His peace one of the greatest of experiences. Apart from His unchangingness these would be flippant and He would be just as untrustworthy as the word of a liar.

According to verse 4, the Revelation is written “To the seven churches which are in Asia.” This does not mean that there were only seven churches in Asia. It is probably symbolic and representative of the total Church. Not only for John’s age, but for all ages to come. That is not to take away from the Revelation’s immediate message and intent.

John’s salutation is similar to that of the apostle Paul’s. Both of these men realized the importance of “Grace” and “Peace”. “Grace” being the ‘unmerited’ or ‘undeserved’ favor of God, and without which, we would all be eternally condemned. “Peace” being made clean before God, without guilt or condemnation. Grace is our standing or position before God. Peace is our experience with God.
“Which is,… which was, and which is to come” reveals to us the eternalness of God. These words are written again in verse eight, chapter 4; 11:17; and in 16:5. There could be no grace or peace if God is not eternal or unchanging [immutable]. If God changed with every generation, fad, or grievance of people He would be even less dependable than our fellowman.

It is because of His immutability that He is able to save us (Hebrews 7:24-25). In Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses to tell the people, “I Am hath sent me unto you”. This name means, “Self-Existent One”. If He is Self-Existent He needs nothing to sustain Him, therefore, He is unchanging. He is, He was, and He always will be God.

“Seven Spirits” has been a troubling statement to some. When we think of the number seven (7) in the symbolic way which John meant, we can only come to the conclusion of fulness, completion. The fulness of the Holy Spirit is certainly in the giving of this Revelation of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit before the throne. If He is before the throne, and He abides in us, then, where are we who are in Christ Jesus?

In verses five and six we find Jesus revealed as a Prophet [“Faithful witness”], Priest [“First begotten of the dead”], and King [“The prince of the kings of the earth”].

As the Prophet He called people to the Father by His words and by His life. The prophet is hated while he lives and calls people to righteousness, thus, Jesus was crucified. He became Priest by His death, burial and resurrection. He became Priest, “After the power of an endless life ” (Hebrews 7:16). “The first begotten of the dead” has more to do with His power and position than His being the first to rise from death. However, He was the first to have “…the power of an endless life”. By His death and resurrection He became our High Priest. This High Priest is truly a priest. He has been “Touched with the fellings of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). A priest is one who approaches God on behalf of men and communicates to man on God’s behalf. Certainly, this is Jesus. He is King by His power over kings and Nations. He rules supremely. Here the word is “Prince”. The prince is one who will be king. but has not began his position of rule and authority. With Jesus this is by choice of His Father, until His set time.

This is the One who loved us, and loves us, washed us and loosed us from the slavery of sin by shedding His own blood. He gave His life. He took the condemnation that was mine and yours. By doing this for us He has made us “…a kingdom of priests unto God”, or “Kings and priests”. The Scriptures are full of doxologies unto God. Is it any wonder? When we truly begin to see God in His glory how can we be silent any longer. He is glory. He is worthy of blessing, power and dominion forever. SO BE IT.

Verse seven has Him coming in power and great glory. This event takes place chronologically in Revelation 19:11-21. This event follows the Rapture of the Church by at least seven years.
When Jesus comes for the Church no one will see Him. He is coming then as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4). People will be snatched from their homes, cars, places of employment and chaos will prevail upon the earth.

In this verse “Every eye shall see Him” and they will mourn and weep over His appearance. They will even cry out to the rocks and hills to fall on them (6:16; Hosea 10:8). “They also which pierced him: “, then, would refer to the people who condemned Jesus to die. That, of course, being the Jewish nation, and they will believe in Him; “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27 (KJV).

John’s response to this may seem; to some anyway;  cold and heartless, but he says “A-MEN” out of anticipation and exhilaration, and faith that the Lord Jesus will be ultimately victorious. So, it is more a cry of victory than of vengeance.

Finally in this study we get to verse eight. “Alpha and Omega” are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is interesting when you think of Jesus as the “Word of God”. Words are made of letters. If He is the First and Last, the Beginning [Genesis] and the end [The Revelation], then, He is also everything in between.

He is, He was, and He forever shall be. He is unchanging [Immutable]. Because of that He is our A to Z. From beginning to end the Immutable One. A-Men.

In conclusion, let me readdress the fact that He is unchanging. There is not much, if anything, in this world that does not change.

It should cause us to be bold and brave to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knowing He never changes. He is “…The same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Because He is unchanging He is a worthy, Prophet, Priest, and King. Worship Him. He is revealing Himself to a changing world.

Reminder of His Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Corrected By Your Own Sins

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

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

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

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Is God Missing In Your Life?

The Word of the LORD is important to the prophet of God. Without the Word he has no message. No message of any importance anyway. The most important message the people need is that of what God says.

It is sad when we hear news reports of missing people. Here, of late, we have heard especially of young women, wives, and mothers missing. Some of them end up being found dead. No one enjoys hearing of a missing individual, but how would we feel if God were missing? Would we even notice?

For the second time in the second chapter of Jeremiah we have a “Thus says the LORD…” (vv. 2, 5). Jeremiah realized that since God had called him to be a prophet, and not just a prophet of men, but a prophet to proclaim only the Word of the LORD, with promise of protection, keeping, and power in the words He would proclaim (1:17-19).

In verses two and three God reminds them of their early faith, and holiness. Now the prophet addresses, at God’s direction, their forsaking God. They had gotten to a state of comfort, which led to a lethargic, complacent mindset, and then, completely turned their backs on God.

Hear the Word of the LORD:

“Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel.” Jeremiah 2:4 (KJV).

There seems to be a message of warning in this phrase alone. The name “Jacob” was a name of self-dependence; of one’s using their own methods to accomplish their own ends. Jacob had trusted the LORD God, and God changed his name to Israel. “Jacob” actually meaning ‘Heel catcher’ because he had a handhold on Esau’s foot when they were born. “Israel” meaning ‘Prince of God’, or ‘He struggles with God’. (NOTE: You can find this history in Genesis 32:22-32). So in addressing them as “House of Jacob” could it be that the LORD, through the prophet, is reminding them from whence they came; that they have forgotten their faith?

 “Thus saith the LORD, ‘What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Neither said they, ‘Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?  And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made Mine heritage an abomination. The priests said not, ‘Where is the LORD? And they that handle the law knew Me not: the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.'”  Jeremiah 2:4-8 (KJV)

Easy living, comfort, the fatness of the land, or a good economy, are some of the things that lure people away from faith, and trust in the LORD God. It can happen so easily. For a Christian today it starts by neglecting your daily quiet time with the Lord. It continues as you neglect your prayer life. The next thing you know you missed a Sunday morning worship gathering due to being up too late Saturday night – you were out with friends, went to a movie, or just did not take an initiative to be in bed to get to church as usual. It really does not take much effort for a child of God to get away from godly practice.

The worship of Baal can be as simple as seeing other things as more important than that personal quiet time with God. Be careful. Be careful to maintain that quiet time, that special time you have with the Lord Jesus each and every morning. In this quiet time you receive strength, and encouragement for the day. You may not think so at the time, but that strength will be there as you need it.

When we start neglecting that personal time with God, the next thing to go will be our worship of God, and fellowship with other believers. The house you live in, the boat, and going to the lake for water skiing or fishing begins taking the place of God, fellowship with Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ. When this happens; you have become a modern day Idol worshiper. Just a thought – is an idle worshiper and Idol worshiper? My answer to that is YES!!!

The prophet Jeremiah reminds the recipients of this message of the work the LORD has done for the Nation (vv. 6-7). God had indeed brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness, where no one lived. Though it is not mentioned, per se’, He also provided them with water from the Rock. He is our Water in a dry and thirsty land where no water is (Psalm 63:1).

Twice it is mentioned in this text; the question, “Where is the LORD?” First it was the “fathers” (v. 6), then it is the priests (v. 7). They were not even missing the presence of the LORD. Why would you ask, if you do not even notice that God is missing from your “worship”.  The LORD has come and dwelt among His people.  He went to the cross and died for our sins in the Person of His Son Jesus the Christ.  He was buried carrying all our sin, our guilt, our shame, our condemnation away; then He arose bodily from the grave, and is now seated at the Father’s right hand always interceding for all who will come to Him.

The one’s who saw to the keeping of the scrolls of the law were doing it, and not even knowing the Person of the Law. The Living Word of God appeared to these in His day, they saw His works, they heard His teachings and testimony, and they still rejected Him. They did not know what they had been copying. It was just a job, a task to perform and keep them busy. Something upon which to boasts.

The rulers turned their back on the LORD. They had grown to despise the true prophets of God and chosen the false prophets of men, ie., Baal. That way they heard only what they wanted to hear. There is no profit in the false words of the profit [prophet] makers.

Is God missing in your worship, or have you even noticed?  He is as close as His name.  Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Come, and…Return unto the LORD

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 (KJV)

The words above are a promise to the nation of Israel.  One day they will turn unto the LORD, and their return will be refreshing, renewing, Revival in their land and for each individual.

The word of God is never just for a time in the future, however.  They are for the Christian who has gone, or is going astray today.   His call is for you to hear Him.  You may have suffered great affliction, sickness, economic heartbreaks, and setbacks; and now is the time for you to “Return unto the LORD.”  There is refreshment, renewal; Revival in Him.

-T.A.

Increased Trouble

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.” Psalm 3:1 (KJV)

I want to begin in this New Year of 2012 doing something a little more consistent with Fire and Hammer.  To begin with I will endeavor to have a post from the Psalms or Proverbs daily; with commentary by Spurgeon, some other legend and least some; maybe most; by myself.  The above verse is my first for 2012.  May God bless you richly during this coming year, may He keep you in His powerful hands, and give you peace.

Of the verse above the Psalmist sees much trouble coming from what is probably the people around him.  His trouble has increased.  We do not need to wonder what trouble is do we?  We are each and everyone of us surrounded by trouble of some sort.

The world is experiencing trouble.  Individuals within the world is having troubles galore.  There are troubles from created nature; earthquakes, fires, floods, famine, hurricanes, tornadoes, and troubles from peoples own evil and mistakes; murders, rapes, slavery, robberies, pollutions, bankrupt economies, etc. and there are troubles with families; divorce, unemployment, estranged mothers and fathers, sickness, disease, wayward children and parents.

Yes!  There are troubles in our world.  You have troubles.  I have troubles.  None are immune from it.

We do, however, have the LORD to whom we can go and He will listen to our troubles; and they will seem small compared to knowing Him and His greatness.

There is help and hope for those who trust in the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031211

Today’s Reading is from Matthew 26 – 28.

In looking at the life of Jesus Christ one cannot help but notice that the life of Jesus is completely submitted to the will of His Father.  He is about fulfilling God’s will for His life as a human being on earth.  Now, if we want a good example then, Jesus is the one to follow.  He is however, much more than an example to follow.  He is, in fact, the very only begotten Son of God (John 1:1-5, 14; 3:16).  Part of His submission to the Father as man is His heart and will to fulfill Scriptures and we see that in the following verses,

“Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.  And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?  In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take Me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on Me.  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”  Matthew 26:50-56

In this short passage we see the statement twice, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled…?” and then, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled”, and all this was at the time of His betrayal and arrest.

Though the name of the sword wielder is not given, we know from the testimony of the apostle John (John 18:10-11) that it is Peter who was overly protective of His Lord.  If we think Peter only meant to cut off that man’s ear, we would be gravely mistaken.  Peter was not a highly trained soldier in handling a sword; but his intent was to divide that man’s head.

The intent and purpose of Jesus was to fulfill Scripture and glorify His Father.  In that act He would also make a way for those who will believe to have fellowship with God the Father.  By way of the cross Scripture, all of Scripture would be fulfilled, the sin debt would be paid, God would be honored, and glorified; and there is a way of salvation from the condemnation of sin.

The event of the above Scriptures follow a time of great trial in our Lord’s life.  It was a time of the “press”.  In a place where the olives were pressed for the oil, the very fragrance of Heaven was being pressed in doing the will of Heaven.  Jesus was about doing the will of God.  His mind, His heart, His soul, and His strength was going to see that all Scripture would be fulfilled.

In the press, by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, we can be about fulfilling the will and word of God in our lives.  Be strong in faith, believe God, trust every word He has said; that He will fulfill every word that, even now, has yet to be fulfilled.  Believe it will be; and live accordingly.  No matter what trial or tribulation may come; economic failure, employment fails, health fails, earthquake or flood, or fire.  God’s Word – all of Scripture will be fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031111

Reading today from Matthew 23 – 25.

After doing my reading this morning, I was wondering what I should post this morning for the Scripture reading over on our church blog, and our son James called and told me about a huge earthquake which had just happened in Japan.  Now, there are tsunami warnings out for all the West coast of the continental USA, Alaska, that they were vacating the Island’s of Hawaii, and Australia and other places.  It just reminds me of the reminders our Lord gives that He will return.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  Matthew 24:36-39 (KJV)

“You Christians have been saying that for years, and it hasn’t happened yet.”  You could even say, “It has been being said, for about two thousand years”, and I would even go further than that.  God has been telling us that since near the beginning, because through Enoch was written the words,

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  Jude vv. 14-15

and Enoch lived before Noah (Genesis 5:24).

We need not ask “When is Jesus Christ Returning?”   We do need to ask, “Is my life ready for His return if He were to come today?”  Since we do not know the day or the time we need to be drawing near to God through His Son Jesus each and every day through His Word and prayer, committing our lives to holy living through the power of His Spirit who lives in those who have called on the name of Jesus Christ.

If you will look around you today you will see much chaos.  Economic upheaval, National and international catastrophe, Political upheaval in all shapes and sizes; democratic, republics, dictatorships, anarchy.  Yet I believe God still reigns.  He is on His throne, and prayer changes things and people for the glory of God.

We have all these chaotic things going on, yet some people pay no mind, no attention to these matters; they just keep on partying, marrying, giving in marriage; and making no change to the way they live.  It is time to direct our hearts to the LORD of hosts.  He has directed His eyes toward us.  He has sent us His Son Jesus to die for our sins; made a way for all who will believe to call on Him and be brought into fellowship with Him.

You may think, “I can’t change.  I have tried many times and failed”.  To that I say, “No you can’t change yourself.”  However, God can change you.  Admit to Him that you are a sinner, that you are powerless, and submit yourself to His grace, call on Him, believe and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Who We Are, and Our Blessings In Christ

Ephesians 1:1-5

Purpose of this study:

1. To discover the greatness of being in Christ;
2. To know the richness of His blessings;
3. To know and understand our purpose in Christ;
4. To better understand our calling.

The book of Ephesians was written by Paul the apostle while he was imprisoned in Rome.  Ephesians is known as one of the “prison epistles”, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.

The city of Ephesus was the seat of “Diana” worship (Acts 19 note verse 28).  A goddess worshipped by a superstitious people and profited on by business men and silversmiths.  The preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ caused a great loss of income for these men and their businesses when some of the worshippers of Diana, turned from idolatry to the true God (Acts 19:23-41).  These men would have done almost anything to take away Paul’s and other Christian’s right or freedom to speak.

This church is the same church that would receive a letter from the Lord Jesus Christ a few years later.  It can be read in the Revelation of Jesus Christ chapter two, beginning with verse one.

At the time of Paul’s writing, approximately 55 A.D., the church of Ephesus is strong in faith and longing to grow in the Spirit of Christ.  In this letter Paul teaches them two main truths:  1) Who they are [their position] in Christ (chapters 1-3); and  2) How they are to live [their practice] (chapters 4-6).

Knowing who we are in Jesus is still important for Christians.  By knowing our position in Him we are strengthened in faith, and greatly encouraged to live for Him.

If we are to be the Christians God calls us to be we must be discovering the greatness and riches of being in Christ, our calling, the richness of His blessings, and the purpose of our calling.

The term “In Christ” or its equivalent is mentioned at least 34 times in the bood of Ephesians.  Fifteen of those being in the first chapter alone.  So we learn already that it is important for  us to recognize, to know who we are in Jesus Christ.

CALLED OUT AND FAITHFUL (vv. 1-2).  “Set apart”, “called out” and faithful.  Consecrated unto the Lord is the meaning of the word “Saint”.  The Christian has been called out of sin, set apart for the glory of God to be different from the world philosophies, and doctrines.

The Christian understands the problem of sin, and the human heart, as best as can be understood, and that is by the understanding which God gives by His Spirit, His word, and the life of Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:10-11 spells it out for us; “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God…”  We are called out of sin, unto faith in Jesus Christ; to live in the Spirit of Christ for the glory of the Father.

The “faithful” are the one’s who dedicated to the work and will of glorifying God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  We glorify Him with a life given to living holy, separated, lives of witness.  The words we speak, our work ethic, our family lives, our church service and our worship of God alone is a witness that other’s will see or won’t see.  Unwavering faith in God, and His Word, and holy desire for His will to be done is shown in faithfulness.  Faithful in belief.  Faithful in and to His Word.

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:21 (KJV)

THE RICHES OF HIS BLESSING (v. 3;  2:6).  These blessings are not in the material things of this world, although we are told that all things are under His feet.  The blessings of Christ are spiritual, however, they are not limited.  “Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…” Ephesians 1:3 (KJV).  I don’t know if we were meant to understand this whole all thing, but it sounds so full, awesome, and glorious.  Do we put enough emphasis on the spiritual things of Christ?  It doesn’t seem so in my life; and I really doubt it is in most Christian’s lives.

These spiritual blessings are in heavenly places; that is the place where Jesus is.  The blessings that Christian’s have in Christ Jesus cannot be attained through science, technology, knowledge, sorcery, witchcraft, incantations, rituals, liturgy, rites, religion, flagellation, wealth, or fame.  These blessings are all part of the grace given us who are in Christ Jesus through faith in Him by His death on the cross; His carrying our sins away; and the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead.  These are blessings of His grace.

In these spiritual blessings there is cleansing from sin, condemnation and guilt.  There is the personal relationship with holy God reserved only for those who have no sin debt.  We also have the gift of eternal life with Jesus Christ and the Father; and in complete fellowship with Him.

OUR ELECTION AND OUR LIFESTYLE (v. 4).  If a king were to choose you as their son or daughter would you not find it a great privilege, and honor?  If the king were known as a wealthy, and good, and honorable man I think most of us would be honored by the prospect.  This is not likely to happen, of course, so don’t set your sites too high for this; except when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the King of kings.  He will rule with honor, power, and goodness; and He is wealthy.  He has chosen us in Himself.  We are getting into a topic of great controversy, and that is dealing with “Election” and “Predestination”.  There are some “scholars” and preachers/teachers who try to avoid these doctrines.   They are, however, in the Word of God, and need to be dealt with.  I am not sure that I can aid in this or not, but since they are here, I will say this.  When it comes to “Election” we have the clear teaching from the Word that those who are in Christ have been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.  It is great to know that God chose me, and that He knew me long before I was ever conceived in the womb of my mother.  That is so of all who will come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Dealing with this “Election” of God let us look further into Scripture – “And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” Exodus 33:19 (KJV).  As our Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Advocate, Judge… He has every right to choose whomever He will, to call to Himself.  Someone may ask, “Doesn’t mankind have a ‘freewill’?”  To that I would readily agree.  The very fact that God placed the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in the midst of the garden near the “Tree of Life” tells me that God gave them a choice, thus free will to choose to obey or disobey.  They chose the latter of the two, and sin, death, and misery came into the world.

So how do the teachings of Election, the Sovereignty of God, and man’s free will operate?  I don’t know that I have the answer to that, but these things I do know and believe; and that is that God says that He knew me before the foundation of the world and He chose me; He has enriched me with spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, and that according to His will, the free will of men, and  His Sovereignty somehow work together to fulfill His will and glory.

The greatness of this “Election” is that God chose me before I ever did anything good or bad.  His choosing me was not based on any merit of my own, but solely on the grace of God alone.  Since He chose me before doing anything good or bad, that only means that there is nothing I could do to be plucked from my Father’s hands:

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” John 10:28-29 (KJV)

This does not give license to sin.  This does give us freedom from sin to live for Jesus Christ.  Before we came to faith in Jesus Christ we were bound by sin.  In Christ we are free to live for Him, and Him alone. This election is a calling to holiness (2:10;  John 15:16).

OUR PLACEMENT IN THE HEAVENLIES (v. 5).  By the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross we are born into relationship with the Father (John 3:3;  1 Peter 1:23).  By that blood we are legally sons/children, however, there is something else that happens to those who come to faith in Jesus Christ.  We are placed into the position with Christ as legal heirs of all that is His.  That is the “Adoption”.

That is the predetermined plan of God.  That is the “predestinated” will of God.  In John 1:12 we are told this – “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them tht believe on His name.”  Some new translations place children where the KJV uses sons, and that seems to me to be a tragedy, for we miss the greater meaning.  With Christ as our Lord and Savior we are given the same rights as the Elder Son, who is Jesus.  In the Old Testament economy the elder son received a majority of the father’s estate, and was given the responsibility of caring for the parents when they became unable to care for themselves.

Now consider this; since we are born into the family shouldn’t we just receive a minority of the inheritance?  Jesus has paid the price of our sin, making it possible for us to be in God’s family in the first place; He is the One who deserves it all.  By grace He places us with Him as joint heirs (Romans 8:17) with Him.

There is an example of this given in the Law of Moses concerning inheritance, and the daughters of a man who had no sons, and would be left out of the inheritance except for the grace given.  Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-7) had five daughters, and he would be left out of inheriting any of the promised land, leaving nothing for any sons who might come along later.  Thus, in a since, they are placed in the position of an elder son, inheriting the land that would have been their father’s.

There is such a wealth at the hands and feet of every believer in Jesus Christ.  It is a wealth that is not of this world, however it is accessible in this world; and through it and by it we can live in victory.  The enemy has been defeated.  Let us rejoice.

We are “Predestinated” to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and that is to live in glory.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 (KJV)

We have yet to “tap into” the wonderful resources that are ours in Christ Jesus.  If we were the people of God in Christ that He has called us to be, walking in the Spirit, walking in the power of His word, there is no attack of the enemy which could stop us, and no human force could stand in our way; and He would be seen and glorified in many hearts and lives.  What God calls “Complete” is complete.

-Tim A. Blankenship

All Wise Savior

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” Jude 25 (NKJV).

In this closing statement by Jude he clearly declares the deity of the One we call Savior. “To God our Savior”. Anyone, person or religious organization who would deny the deity of Jesus Christ; or decrees deity to all who could or would achieve the “christ-spirit” or whatever they would call it; denies the very heart of Christ Jesus; therefore they do not know Him. They are in fact worshipping a different “Jesus”; a demon.

The Jesus whom Jude, Peter, James, John; and Matthew, Mark and Luke write of is Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, who is God made flesh, and “dwelt among us”. He alone is the One who died for the sins of the whole world, was buried in a dead human body; and rose victoriously over sin, death and hell in a glorified human body. If you don’t know the Jesus who died as the incarnate God, was buried as the incarnate God, and rose again as the bodily form of God, then you know not my Jesus.

Jude gives Jesus as the One “who alone is wise”. We can read the eighth and ninth chapters of Proverbs, and you see the Personification of wisdom, and that Person is none other than Jesus the Christ. Solomon is often given credit as being “the wisest man who ever lived”, but then, there is Jesus; the One who gave Him His wisdom. Jesus was wise to follow the guidance and direction of His heavenly Father. He desired to always do those things which pleased His Father, even to the death on the cross.

The glory of Jesus is in the fact that He did the Father’s will. We have all sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus came, as like sinful men, yet without sin, and Himself was the glory of God on earth. He fulfilled the task which the first Adam failed to fulfill. As followers of Jesus Christ, and by imputation – the reckoning of God – we fulfill the glory of God. When we see Jesus we will see Him in all His glory and majesty. A couple of things we have which are symbols of majesty on earth are the eagle in the sky, and the lion. These pale in comparison to the majesty of Jesus.

With Jesus is all power, and He rules in the hearts of rulers, and will ultimately have His way in this world. One day the Lord Jesus will return to this earth, will overthrow the kingdoms of this world, and its rulers, and He Himself will rule, and sin will no more have rule and dominion in the hearts and minds of men or women. These qualities which Jude ascribes to Jesus are given to Him also by the angels, and the saints in heaven according to Revelation 4:10, 11; 5:12-14.

Give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father by believing in Jesus, and the work He has done on the cross, becoming sin for us, receiving the wrath of God that was ours, taking our sins away in His burial, then, rising victoriously over it all. Proving once and for all that He is all that He said He is. Proving that there is life after death, and that eternal life is found solely through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Without Faith In Jesus

Jesus had been on the Mount where three disciples who were with Him had seen His glory.  He was transfigured before their eyes; and He spoke with Moses and Elijah concerning the matter of His coming death and resurrection (Luke 9:30-31).  While down below, at the foot of the mount, the other nine disciples were being unsuccessful delivering a man from the power, and torment of an evil spirit – a demon.

When Jesus came down from the encounter with His glory, Moses and Elijah; and Peter, James and John; He finds disappointment with the others.  He says,

“O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.”  Matthew 17:17 (KJV)

and then delivers the young man from this demon.

Here was a father with a son who is tormented by a demon, the disciples “faithless and unbelieving” and Jesus in His glory [temporarily] to give us a lesson of faith.

Jesus knew of His impending death on the cross and the following resurrection, and that He was going away.  In His absence -bodily – we would need faith.  The disciples left at the foot of the mountain could be you and me, who are believing in Him, in the world today; and we have troubled people all around us.

People plagued by marriages, failing marriages, children, troubled children, elderly parents, sickness, disease, joblessness, fear; various fears concerning health, finances, world troubles, and as believers it seems sometimes that we have not much to offer a hopeless world.  At least that is how we are seen.

After the disciples and Jesus leave the mountain they ask Jesus a question and He answers them –

“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”  Matthew 17:19-21 (KJV)

Why do we seem so powerless in this day of trouble?  Because we are not practicing the things of God.  Prayer and fasting is often the farthest thing from our minds, and hearts.  Prayer and fasting requires that our heart be on the things of Christ.  If there is ever a time for prayer, communicating with our Lord, and denying ourselves the desires of the world it should be now.

Jesus is away from us bodily, but with us in His Spirit, living within guiding, comforting, convicting, teaching, and showing us all things concerning Jesus Christ.  Are we listening?  When we listen do we do what we know to do?  What do we do when we don’t know what to do?  Do what we know to do?

We are the disciples at the foot of the mountain awaiting the return of our King.  Will He return and say to us,

“O faithless and perverse generation…”?

I pray not.

Let us who are the disciples of Jesus Christ be a people of faith, believing that Jesus will soon return, praying, fasting from the pleasures, and “tastiness” of this world; hearing the Lord Jesus speaking the words of peace as only He can.  Get into His Word, read it, study it; let the Word by the Spirit of God read you; believe it, practice it, and let others see Jesus in you.  When the world brings their problems – demons – to us then, by and in the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ – cast those demons – problems – out.

Let’s appropriate the power of the Spirit of Christ in us with that faith that declares Jesus is coming soon.  The focus of genuine faith is Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Israel, Iran, And The World

I have been silent; probably for too long; concerning the elections in Iran.  Though I don’t generally comment on events such as these, the real atrocity is against the people of Iran.  Like our country [USA] I am for freedom.  All people should be free to make their own decisions in politics, in religion, in life; and make informed and clear decisions.

One sign of an oppressive government is when that government decides to stop all means of communication.  Iran’s leading authority has tried to stop the out going communications to let the rest of the world know what is going on.  They have failed in that, and it seems that today – June 20, 2009 – will be the day the government “puts its  foot down”, and tries with its military might to silence a very angry, and large number of its citizens.

If they can hear these words today; Be strong, and turn your eyes toward the LORD of the earth, believe and trust in the Son of Jehovah Jesus Christ;  He is the Supreme One, and will lead you to genuine peace; and that is so for all the world.  The hope of Iran is not the Ayatolla Khameni or its government which is officially ran by the “strong arm” of Islam in Iran.  It is a repressive government which eventually will end in the destruction of its own country.

The current administration has said many times “Death to Israel.  Death to the United States.”  And his intent is to see the destruction of any who oppose him.

How does Israel view this situation in Iran.  Let me give you some quotes from the Jerusalem Post

“FOR ISRAEL, the election in Iran boils down to one major issue – the nuclear program, and the chances of its being stopped, whether Ahmadinejad or Mousavi end up taking the reins.

One school of thought in the defense establishment is that Ahmadinejad serves Israel’s short-term interests. With his open calls to destroy the Jewish state and his public denial of the Holocaust, he helps Israel make its diplomatic case against Iran.”

It sounds as though Israel would be for keeping Ahmadinejad. At least they would know what to expect. It seems that no one knows what to expect of Mousavi.  May all the Middle East know that those who come against Israel will fail, and their armies will be destroyed; not by Israel, nor by the United States, or any army of the world, but by the Supreme Ruler, the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. Read Ezekiel 38 – 39 along with Genesis 12:1-3.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the world is in economic straights, and in need of help, but from where.  The only help for Israel, Iran, and the rest of the world can only be found in turning to the One who died for the sins of the world, and His name is Jesus the Christ; Son of the Living God.

Let us who are followers of Jesus Christ continue to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” and for the people of the Middle East.  The hope of the world is Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Secure The Documents

The prophecy of Isaiah has been strong. The people who have heard his preaching of these prophetic words of judgment coming are calling him a leader of conspiracy. In fact in conspiring against his own people and nation.

He has told them of one coming who would be a sanctuary and a “Stone of offense and a Rock of stumbling”, in fact “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem”. Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone who we are told in the New Testament is that Stone of offense and Rock of stumbling, are warned not to let that Rock fall on us, by Jesus Himself (Matthew 21:42-44; Mark 12:10). This is the stone also of which Daniel the prophet would describe coming down out of heaven, and in the kings dream –

 “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold–the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” Daniel 2:45 (NKJV); (Also see verses 34-35ff).

The responsibility of keeping these prophecies – writings were those disciples who were following Isaiah, and writing down what he preached (8:2). To “Bind up the testimony” is to secure them for future acknowledgement of the events which the prophet foretold. They have been kept secure now for over 2,700 years. That is in fact what we are reading today.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.  And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” Isaiah 8:16-17 (KJV)

The prophet is secure in the preaching of the LORD’s message. The prophet would not see the invasion of the invading forces of Babylon. The word of the LORD which he had spoken, and his disciples who believed the message would have it to show and prove to those who were living at that time that it was foretold.

When we read the words, “Hiding his face” it means in judgment, or shame, or maybe both. God is not looking on “Jacob” in favor is its implication.

Isaiah the prophet will “Wait for the LORD’ and ‘hope in Him”. The confidence of Isaiah is wonderful. He may be tried beyond understanding, and normal patience; but no matter what his faith in God will see him through. We see the nation we live in crumbling morally, and economically around us; when we see the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ watered down with “Feel good” messages, and messages of prosperity and health, without our suffering with Christ; we too have the faith to look to the LORD, and “Wait for the LORD” of heaven to come in all His glory and power, and to put all things under His feet. Let us pray that He is not hiding His face from His people today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Conspiracy Theorists

Prophets were often accused of conspiring with enemy forces. Isaiah was no different. Isaiah was involved in a conspiracy, but not with the enemy of Israel or Judah. He was in a conspiracy with the LORD of hosts. That is “The Conspiracy” I write of in this article. If preachers are to be the men of God we have been called to be we will be accused at times of conspiring against our church, our people, and sometimes even accused of going against tradition, when we really are not.

The prophet Isaiah is told by God, “not to walk in the way of this people”. When our people are going astray, when they are living out of the will of the LORD, when they are in feuds with one another, when they are charging the preacher of conspiracy, then is the time for that preacher to stand and preach like he has never preached the Word before. It is not the time to back down.

Hear the Word of the LORD spoken to Isaiah:

“For the LORD spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,  Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” Isaiah 8:11-15 (KJV)

The prophet is being directed by the LORD to have no walk in the way of his people. They were actually accusing this man of God of conspiring with the enemy, and they wanted to pronounce judgment upon this man Isaiah.

As I look as this passage of Scripture I find myself wondering, “What did they fear?”, “What did they dread?” Were they fearing the dreaded enemy that they had heard was coming? It seems to me that they were probably fearing the failure of the economy. The failure of their insurance policies, ie., their walls. They may have been more fearful of their health failing them as well. What ever they feared Isaiah is told not to fear the same things, but rather to “Regard as holy” Him who is speaking to the prophet. He is assured that God will be his sanctuary – a place of protection and solitude.

The prophet is also told “Let Him (ie., God) be your fear, and let Him be your dread”. The only hope anyone has is in the LORD. It does no one any good whatsoever to fear and dread anything that is human, or thing, or thought, or act of another. We have absolutely no control over other’s lives; but God does.

We can stand assured by God and His Word that those who stand against God, His Word, and His men will find a Rock of offense, they will stumble, they shall fall, and be broken. If there is a conspiracy among the men of God; let “The Conspiracy” be that we are faithful to God, His Word, and His way. Let us be faithful in proclaiming the Word, warning the people, encouraging the people who are weary, “comforting the afflicted; and afflicting the comfortable.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Make It Clear

It is sad when we read God’s Word and He uses the heathen, godless nations to bring judgment on His sinning, disobedient people. I am certain that it saddens His heart especially so.

Because He is who He is, and because He is Righteous, Holy and Just He will not tolerate sin in the hearts of His people. He will judge it by ridding us of it through captivity, trials, tribulations, sickness, disease, and even persecution. In chapter eight of Isaiah we begin to see that God is even sending the message to the enemy of Israel/Judah that the time is drawing near for their invasion of the land.

“Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.  And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.“ Isaiah 8:1-2 (KJV)

 

We begin to see the fulfillment of a near prophecy. That is the birth of Isaiah’s son “Speed to the spoil”, and to leave absolutely no doubt that they [the Assyrians] would be the victors the name “Hasten the booty”, ie., enjoy the bounty of the conquered land. The birth of Maher-shalal-hashbaz is the near fulfillment of Isaiah 7:15-17. Of course, the Immanuel who was to be born was Jesus Christ 700 years or so later.

The names of Isaiah’s sons was meaningful and useful for the message of prophecy and the fulfillment of God’s Word. One thing that we can be certain, and that is that God will fulfill His Word. Not one cross of a “t “or the dot of an “i” will fail (Matthew 5:18). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35 (NKJV).

There are two witnesses named who support this prophecy of the prophet. They are most likely priests of the temple of God. They themselves would have been faithful and trusted priests of the Lord and trusted by the believing remnant of people. Their testimony was an accreditation of the Word of God spoken and written by Isaiah.

In the message to Isaiah the LORD says, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters…” It was to be large enough and clear enough that all could read it and understand. God speaks clearly through His Word concerning His direction, His will, His Word, and His correction upon His people.

Is terrorism to be the promise of God’s judgment upon a wicked nation as the United States turned away from God? Will the terrorists be the one’s who ‘Hasten to the spoil” of the United States? If we think seriously about it what has happened with the banking business, and financial markets, that is a form of terrorism; especially the thefts by scam artists; such as Bernie Madoff, and the bonuses paid from funds supplied by our tax monies. If we continue to turn a blind eye to the truth of God’s Word, we will continue on our slide down a very slippery slope to destruction. Let us pray for the renewing of hearts to Christ Jesus, and His soon return.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Just A Thought 03/23/09

In these times of economic hard times, or in any period of despair, it does us good to consider this…

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 (KJV)

And, we do not know what tomorrow may bring, but “We do know Who holds tomorrow”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Fizzling Terror

The prophet Isaiah was God’s messenger to an ungodly king. He was unlike his father, Jotham. He did not do right in the eyes of the LORD 2 Chronicles 28:1). By reading in Isaiah’s prophecy we see God’s promise to avert a tragedy; the tragedy of defeat in this attack which came against Jerusalem, and the kingdom of Judah.

The Northern kingdom of Israel, also known as Ephraim in our text, allies with Syria. Pekah “son of Remaliah the king of Israel”, and “Rezin the king of Syria” has it in their minds to wage war against Jerusalem, defeat them, take captives, and take home some treasure as well. Ahaz has no heart for God so he does not ask for God’s help, but the help of surrounding neighbors. The prophet is called by God to go to Ahaz with his son Shearjashub, and speak to the king.

“And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up toward Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.  And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind.  Then said the LORD unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field;  And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying,  Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:  Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.  For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.  And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.“ Isaiah 7:1-9 (KJV)

The message of Isaiah is “Do not fear…”. These are two smoking, smoldering stumps, and they can have no power over you. What they are devising against you will not stand. Remember Ahaz has no heart for God, and we see in 2 Chronicles 28 that king Ahaz did not listen to the LORD, and the city of Jerusalem was conquered, the people taken captive, though later restored, and the captives returned to Judah.

The message here is that we must trust the LORD our God in every situation, and even when there are no trying situations of life. This message, “Do not fear’, ‘Do not be afraid’, ‘fear not’, etc. is found throughout all of Scripture. It is the message to God’s people – the people who have called on His name through the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah’s son Shearjashub, meaning “A remnant shall return” went with the prophet as a word of assurance that there would always be a remnant of God’s people. People who were believing and trusting the LORD. They need not be afraid.

In the United States of America and in many parts of the world, people are trembling in fear over the march of terrorism. After the assault on the USA in September of 2001 fear has seemed to be in the hearts of many. Those of us who are children of our King, ie., King Jesus have absolutely nothing to fear. These terrorists need to fear, because their destiny is set. They are sending themselves to Hell. That is the shame of it all. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus has all these matters under His control. Terrorism will be defeated. They are as those ‘two smoldering stumps of firebrands’, they will not prevail, unless we turn our back on God, and give in to the fears that is in the hearts of many.

We as the people of God must stand by faith in every trial and every circumstance of life. There is nothing that can happen to us which God does not have in His hand. The nation of the USA must awake to the ways of God, or it will not be terrorism which defeats us but our own iniquities. To stand firm with the LORD of hosts in faith is our call, our life, our all. If we do not stand by faith in God, we will not stand at all.

There are many things which cause great fear in the hearts of citizens of the United States, and the world; and one of those is the failing economy. Many had much of their hopes stored away in the Stock Market, and have seen there life savings, 401k’s and investments eaten by the rust of time and decayed away. The only sure thing is faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ and His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.

“If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.” (v. 9b NKJV).

I pray the Lord Jesus will encourage and strengthen your heart. Be strong in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in Him and you will live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD On His Throne

Sometimes kings and presidents are loved and admired by many and hated and despised by many more. As a matter of fact that is the way it is most of the time. When you have a political leader who does not push for moral issues and what is right, but is rather loose on these things, then you have many who believe these things do not matter; being flamboyantly for him. The man who stands for right and what he believes in will have the support and backing of those who believe courage stands for something, they believe the leader is going as his heart for God, righteousness, justice, and love leads him.

That is the way Isaiah seems to have viewed king Uzziah. Uzziah was a godly king who had grieved God by going into the temple and burning “incense on the altar of incense” (2 Chronicles 26:16b). Because of this grievous sin, God placed the judgment of leprosy upon him for the rest of his life (2 Chronicles 26:21). You can see that the Scriptures says, “…He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…” (26:4). Though, he had sinned in this one thing of offering the incense, when it was not his place to do so; Isaiah still mourns his death.

Whether Isaiah’s call is before or after the first five chapters could be important. I personally believe that having seen, and having wrote what is written in those first five chapters, he hears the voice of God ever so clearly, and knows without a doubt that he has God’s call to go to God’s people with God’s Word. It comes at a time of tragedy for the Nation. The king has died. Any time the chief leader of a nation dies, or is sick or wounded, the nation grieves; at least in most cases. On March 31, 1981 (I think this is the correct day and year) President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded by John Hinckley. I can remember thinking, “That’s terrible. How could someone do anything like that?” The Nation was on its knees, and I believe we were mourning. It should have been an eye-opening experience.

Here are the words of Isaiah:

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.“ Isaiah 6:1-3 (KJV)

Isaiah had a burden for his people. He had a burden for God’s people to get back to God, get right with God and then live in the glory of God.

Many of us can see the problems of our nation and the world, but we have not yet caught a vision of God that drives us to our knees, and helps us see God for who He is. He is the exalted One, the Holy One – thrice holy One; He is the Glorious One, and without Him we have no glory. We need to see that it is God who is on the throne. It is He who rules, and has everything under control – His control for His plan, not yours and mine. He is the one who sees the BIG PICTURE. Since the angels, seraphim recognize Him as holy, holy, holy we need to do so as well.

Have we sacrificed holiness for democracy, safety, health, security, and celebration?

Bow on your knees and cry HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

They Know Not The Way…

The economy has been going flat now for several months, and some might even say for a few years it has been headed downward. Has anyone ever stopped to ask “Why?” The answer to that question of “Why has the economy went downward?” is not the President of the United States; it is not because we are in the midst of two battles of war. These have probably not been much help for us.

Let’s consider some insights from the prophet Jeremiah. It seems that the economy in this prophet’s day was doing well, people were comfortable, and they were very much involved in the culture of the day. They believed in God, and they believed in other things as well. Their comfort, and riches, had come between them and the LORD God and His direction for their lives. The prophet Jeremiah is called by God to go to a rebellious people, and warn them of approaching danger.

The warnings have been plenty from the first chapter. What does the prophecy of Jeremiah have to do with the United States of America? The people of Judah and Israel proclaimed themselves to be “God’s people”. The USA has professed by the mouths of many citizens of this nation, “We are also God’s people; we are a Christian nation.” If we will so loudly proclaim that we are a Christian nation, then we must see that being a nation of God we must also receive the chastisement of God when we go astray.

Jeremiah has written,

“O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God.” Jeremiah 5:3-4 (KJV)

With recent fires roaring, devouring homes, taking many man hours, and property; with the storms that have so often hit in various parts of this nation; doesn’t it seem in the least that our merciful, loving and gracious God could be warning us to awake, believe and change our lives.

The LORD’s eyes are upon the truth. The poorest of the poor are those people who may have everything materially yet have not the faith of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. Own the world without the grace of God, in the faith of Christ and you have nothing of eternal value. You basically have nothing of God-value. You can know the stockmarket inside and out; you could know the Encyclopaedia Britannica by memory; and you could know the Bible word for word; not knowing God, you would still be poor, and without knowledge of God or His way

Why are these things happening and to both Christian and non-christian? Only God knows the real answer to that, but I think we must consider the possibility that God’s people, the Christians have not been the citizens of the USA for Christ that we should have been. Professing Christian people are growing more ignorant about the ways of God; or are wanting to be more “Politically correct”, and “Culturally relevant”. It is time for the Christian to be Biblically correct and heavenly relevant.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Called To Return

CALLED TO REPENTANCE

 

The purpose and reason for this study is to give Biblical evidence and support for the restoration and renewing of the Nation of Israel. There are many prophecies throughout Scripture which gives this support, however, this one may be the strongest. I find it sad to hear Christians who would tell us and who are teaching the masses that “the Nation of Israel is no more” or “God is finished with the Nation of Israel”. My decree as it has been for many years, and as I search all of the Bible, and see all the promises starting with Abraham, then David, and Solomon is this; “If God falls short of fulfilling the promises to Israel, then, we as Christians have no sure promise of eternity either”.

It is certain; God falls short of nothing. His promises will be fulfilled, both to Israel and to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is promise from God even in Zechariah’s name; it means “YaHWeH Remembers”. He did not forget Israel in their exile to Babylon, nor will He forget her in the Last Days.

Zechariah and Haggai were contemporaries. They both preached to the returning exiles to Jerusalem around the time of the rebuilding of the temple around 536 B.C., and had ceased due to the haters and critics, and then, around 520 BC they began to preach to encourage them to get with the rebuilding once again. Zechariah is most likely the younger of the two prophets. They were both sent by God to be encouragers of the builders, and to have them move their hearts and lives in repentance toward God. “Haggai’s primary purpose was to rebuild the temple; his preaching has a tone of rebuke for the people’s indifference, sin, and lack of trust in God. He was used to start the revival, while Zechariah was used to keep it going strong with a more positive emphasis, calling the people to repentance and reassuring them regarding future blessings. Zechariah sought to encourage the people to build the temple in view of the promise that someday Messiah would come to inhabit it.” THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE p.1337.

“In the eighth month, of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, The LORD has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, Thus says the LORD of hosts; Return to me’, says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will return to you”, says the LORD of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts; Turn now from your evil ways, and your evil deeds”. But they did not hear, nor heed Me, says the LORD. Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they returned and said, “Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways, and according to our deeds, so he has dealt with us.” Zechariah 1:1-6 (NKJV).

While the people have just returned from exile, as the prophet of God that he is, he calls immediately for repentance. This is usually the first message of the prophets of God. This is an observation which only the LORD could or even would give. No false prophet ever calls for repentance, or a return to God. Zechariah’s prophecy ministry begins around 520 BC.

God gives the message to this prophet, and the first word He gives is, “Return to Me, and I will return to you”. He had first reminded them of their “fathers” who had forsaken Him, and served idols. Even though the people of God often have forsaken the Lord, God still is merciful, and longs for His people to return to Him. That is true within the Church as well. There are Christians who are in the world and carnal [of the world], and not living or walking in the glory of the Lord of life. His call to them is, “Come out from among them and be separate”.

The evidence of God’s judgment upon those who will not hear and heed the message of God’s Word is the exile. The ‘fathers’ of the exiles had loved and enjoyed their comforts, their security, their economy had been good, or so they thought. There was an enemy lurking at their door, they turned a deaf ear to God’s prophets, and many died and many went into captivity, and many lingered behind in poverty. When things look good, peaceable, comfortable, and secure be careful it is about to change. “When they say “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NKJV).

What is applicable for Israel is applicable for the Christian as well. Repent. We must return to our God. The Psalmist has written, “It is time for Thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void Thy law.” Psalm 119:126. With our economy having been good for so many years, and the cows have all gotten fat, the eagles are no longer soaring through the air hunting their food but feasting on dead chickens; could it be that the judgment of the USA is not far around the corner? We are having our society saturated with false gods, false doctrines, and false security; and some are wondering, “Where is God in all of this?” The answer to that question is, He is near, and will soon be here. When a nation has gone from being the “bread basket” of the world, feeding the world, to a food to fuel consumer, making our own food prices skyrocket, then the judgment of God is already upon us.

The LORD would be Just in the destruction of Israel. And He would be just as Just if He were to destroy us all. However, He will not due to the promises of His Word, and the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ. He has instead called for those who are His, “Return to Me; and I will return to you.”

-by Tim A. Blankenship

 

God’s Horses and Chariots of Salvation

God’s Horses, and Chariots of Salvation

In these following verses we see pictures of the LORD riding in chariots pulled by horses. He has, of course, won many and mighty victories for the people of His name. The prophet Habakkuk is reminded and reminding those who read and/or sing this song of the greatness of our LORD.

Hear the Word of the LORD through the prophet:

“Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.” Habakkuk 3:8-15 (KJV)

We are reminded of God’s power over the waters of the earth. “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers?” and “Was Your wrath against the sea”; remind us of the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River by God’s stopping the waters upstream so they could cross on dry ground, and previously to this; the Red Sea, by God’s dividing the sea and them walking across on dry ground.

Of course, we know that God has no need of horses and chariots, but this is the picture of God’s power and victory over the enemy, as He freed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and promise of future deliverance from the captivity to come.

Let’s look at the word “Selah” for a moment. The meaning is not quite certain. I have found it quite meaningful to see it as the means or call for reflection upon what I have read. To go back and read it again. To meditate upon it, and reflect on the greatness of the LORD whenever this word is used. The Psalmist uses it quite often, and it may mean to go back and repeat the words. That is at least how I like to think about it. The word “Selah” is used three times in Habakkuk’s third song. Twice in the above passage alone.

The arrow God shoots from His bow is always on target. He hits what He aims at. It may not always be a “Bull’s-eye”. “Bull’s-eye” being what we think is the target. In other words it is not always what we think, but God hits what He aims for. His Word is always on target, never out of date, and pertinent in every point.

The waters of the earth are all at God’s beckoning and call. When He called for a flood upon the earth – there was a flood. When He called for a drought upon the Northern kingdom of Israel under the rule of Ahab, there was a drought for 3.5 years. When He commanded the Red Sea to part; it parted. When He called for the Jordan River to stop flowing; it stopped flowing. All the waters are at His command, and none can control these things but Him.

We are reminded in verse 11 of the power of God over the sun and moon. In the book of Joshua 10:12-14 we see God causing the sun to stand still for a whole day; and one other time several years later the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz went backwards 10 degrees to give king Hezekiah a sign that his life had been extended 15 years (2 Kings 20:8-11; Isaiah 38:4-8). Truly God is God of gods, King of kings, Lord of lords, and there really can be no other. There is none like Him. Praise the name of the LORD.

The LORD is a victorious GOD. He loves His people, protects them, sets them in the right paths, and corrects them when they go astray. He will always have a remnant of people. There have been times when He has used other nations to correct His people, and those people God uses think they serve themselves, and mistreat the people of God, but those who do will face the wrath of the Almighty. “You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed.” This is likened to a “Threshing floor” where grain is taken, trampled, beaten, and tossed so the wind can blow away the waste and stubble. He, at times have even caused the enemy to turn their own weapons against one another – “You thrust through with his own arrows the head of his villages”.

Still yet we see the prophet rejoicing in the power of our great God. There is none who can withstand Him. He is victorious, and will always be victorious. We are reminded of another victory at the Red Sea. When the Egyptian army came by way of the path through the Sea, the Sea closed in on them – “You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters”.

How glorious is our LORD. How majestic is His name. He will always bring His people through.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Reminder of His Love

Reminder of His Love

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

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

For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not transgress,’ When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine? For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me,’ says the Lord GOD” Jeremiah 2:20-22 (NKJV).

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

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

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

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoah’s daughter, choosing rither to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” Hebrews 11:24-26 (NKJV).

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

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

Corrected By Your Own Sins

Your Own Sin and Wickedness Will Correct You

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

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

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

Here is God’s Word from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered? The young lions roared at him, and growled; They made his land waste; His cities are burned, without inhabitant. Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. Have you not brought this on yourself,in that you have forsaken the LORD your God when He led you in the way? And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria to drink the waters of the River? Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19 (NKJV).

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

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

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

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

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

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23 (NKJV)

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Is God Missing???

Is God Missing?

The Word of the LORD is important to the prophet of God. Without the Word he has no message. No message of any importance anyway. The most important message the people need is that of what God says.

It is sad when we hear news reports of missing people. Here, of late, we have heard especially of young women, wives, and mothers missing. Some of them end up being found dead. No one enjoys hearing of a missing individual, but how would we feel if God were missing? Would we even notice?

For the second time in the second chapter of Jeremiah we have a “Thus says the LORD…” (vv. 2, 5). Jeremiah realized that since God had called him to be a prophet, and not just a prophet of men, but a prophet to proclaim only the Word of the LORD, with promise of protection, keeping, and power in the words He would proclaim (1:17-19).

In verses two and three God reminds them of their early faith, and holiness. Now the prophet addresses, at God’s direction, their forsaking God. They had gotten to a state of comfort, which led to a lethargic, complacent mindset, and then, completely turned their backs on God.

Hear the Word of the LORD:

“Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel.” Jeremiah 2:4 (NKJV).

There seems to be a message of warning in this phrase alone. The name “Jacob” was a name of self-dependence; of one’s using their own methods to accomplish their own ends. Jacob had trusted the LORD God, and God changed his name to Israel. “Jacob” actually meaning ‘Heel catcher’ because he had a handhold on Esau’s foot when they were born. “Israel” meaning ‘Prince of God’, or ‘He struggles with God’. (NOTE: You can find this history in Genesis 32:22-32). So in addressing them as “House of Jacob” could it be that the LORD, through the prophet, is reminding them from whence they came; that they have forgotten their faith?

“Thus says the LORD: ‘What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters? Neither did they say, ‘Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.” Jeremiah 2:5-8 (NKJV).

Easy living, comfort, the fatness of the land, or a good economy, are some of the things that lure people away from faith, and trust in the LORD God. It can happen so easily. For a Christian today it starts by neglecting your daily quiet time with the Lord. It continues as you neglect your prayer life. The next thing you know you missed a Sunday morning worship gathering due to being up too late Saturday night – you were out with friends, went to a movie, or just did not take an initiative to be in bed to get to church as usual. It really does not take much effort for a child of God to get away from godly practice.

The worship of Baal can be as simple as seeing other things as more important than that personal quiet time with God. Be careful. Be careful to maintain that quiet time, that special time you have with the Lord Jesus each and every morning. In this quiet time you receive strength, and encouragement for the day. You may not think so at the time, but that strength will be there as you need it.

When we start neglecting that personal time with God, the next thing to go will be our worship of God, and fellowship with other believers. The house you live in, the boat, and going to the lake for water skiing or fishing begins taking the place of God, fellowship with Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ. When this happens; you have become a modern day Idol worshipper. Just a thought – is an idle worshipper and Idol worshipper? My answer to that is YES!!!

The prophet Jeremiah reminds the recipients of this message of the work the LORD has done for the Nation (vv. 6-7). God had indeed brought them out of Egypt, through the wilderness, where no one lived. Though it is not mentioned, per se, He also provided them with water from the Rock. He is our Water in a dry and thirsty land where no water is (Psalm 63:1).

Twice it is mentioned in this text; the question, “Where is the LORD?” First it was the “fathers” (v. 6), then it is the priests (v. 7). They were not even missing the presence of the LORD. Why would you ask, if you do not even notice that God is missing from your “worship”.

The one’s who saw to the keeping of the scrolls of the law were doing it, and not even knowing the Person of the Law. The Living Word of God appeared to these in His day, they saw His works, they heard His teachings and testimony, and they still rejected Him. They did not know what they had been copying. It was just a job, a task to perform and keep them busy. Something upon which to boasts.

The rulers turned their back on the LORD. They had grown to despise the true prophets of God and chosen the false prophets of men, ie., Baal. That way they heard only what they wanted to hear. There is no profit in the false words of the profit [prophet] makers.

Is God missing in your worship, or have you even noticed?

-by Tim A. Blankenship

What Do You See???

What Do You See?

The prophet has seen the “Rod of the almond tree”, and it was the message from God that He was going to bring His Word to pass very quickly. The seeing of the “Rod…” itself is the sign of discipline and judgment. It can also be a sign of protection, if you are on the right side of it.

The LORD asked Jeremiah again, “What do you see?” Jeremiah 1:13 (NKJV), and the prophet says, “I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north”. A “boiling pot” is a hot matter. It has taken some time for the contents of the pot to come to the point of boiling.

At the time of Jeremiah it has basically been many, many years that the people of Israel and of Judah have grown cold to the Lord and His Word. They have turned a deaf ear to the meaning of their sabbath days, holy days, their feasts, and have in fact turned their hearts toward other gods.

Their comforts, their riches, their houses and their lands are of more importance and they care more for those things than for others, or God.

For many years in our own Nation of the United States of America many professing Christians have grown more concerned with their health, wealth, houses, cars, and lands, than they have with being holy, righteous, and the care of our poorer brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a ‘Boiling pot’ that is ready to be spilled on us. It may be in the form of a collapsed economy; is that laughable? You may have the first laugh, but God will have the final one. People are dollaring themselves right out of their new and older homes.

The ‘Boiling pot’ may not be coming from our North, but it is coming from the thing which Americans fear the most. What is that? Economic collapse. For too long people and even Christians have put their hope in the economy being good, when it has basically been built on nothing visible, but the invisible value of their home. It should really just be called ‘Their house’, because to many it is just an investment, and they have placed the value of their lives in the value of their house. May God help us, and forgive us.

God says to the prophet, “Out of the North calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land”. Jeremiah 1:14 (NKJV). When people turn their backs on God, and turn to their own means, comfort, health, wealth, and security, then is when the water in the pot begins to boil. It has been boiling now for many years. Let’s repent of our deeds and turn to the LORD.