The Lord Direct Your Hearts Into The Love Of God

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 3:1-5  (KJB)

Faithfulness and Truth

“O LORD, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will praise Thy name; for Thou hast done wonderful things; Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1 (KJB)

The prophet Isaiah has warned the Judah and Israel of the coming Babylonian invasion, and the judgment God will not only bring on His own people, but that which will come on Babylon as well.

Isaiah knows that the word of the Lord GOD is being spoken.  He exalts the LORD in these words, and the following as well.

May we, the followers of Christ Jesus, in 2019 rejoice in God our Savior who does judge all sin; rejoicing in His faithfulness and His Truth.  His counsels of old, His plans and purposes planned long ago are faithful and true.  Since that be so.  Since that be true; then so it is for today as well.

Remember, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). Call on the name of the One who bled and died on the cross for our redemption, was buried, and rose again.  His name is Jesus the Christ – Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11).

Have a Blessed Lord’s Day.

The Pillar and Ground of Truth

“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:14-16  (KJB)

I will give you some words for study and thought. It is a bit lengthy, but well worth reading.  Be blessed.

From Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Timothy 3:14-16…

He concludes the chapter with a particular direction to Timothy. He hoped shortly to come to him, to give him further directions and assistance in his work, and to see that Christianity was well planted, and took root well, at Ephesus; he therefore wrote the more briefly to him. But he wrote lest he should tarry long, that Timothy might know how to behave himself in the house of God, how to conduct himself as became an evangelist, and the apostle’s substitute. Observe,

  1. Those who are employed in the house of God must see to it that they behave themselves well, lest they bring reproach upon the house of God, and that worthy name by which they are called. Ministers ought to behave themselves well, and to look not only to their praying and preaching, but to their behaviour: their office binds them to their good behaviour, for any behaviour will not do in this case. Timothy must know how to behave himself, not only in the particular church where he was now appointed to reside for some time, but being an evangelist, and the apostle’s substitute, he must learn how to behave himself in other churches, where he should in like manner be appointed to reside for some time; and therefore it is not the church of Ephesus, but the catholic church, which is here called the house of God, which is the church of the living God. Observe here, 1. God is the living God; he is the fountain of life, he is life in himself, and he gives life, breath, and all things to his creatures; in him we live, and move, and have our being, Act_17:25, Act_17:28. 2. The church is the house of God, he dwells there; the Lord has chosen Zion, to dwell there. “This is my rest, here will I dwell, for I have chosen it;” there may we see God’s power and glory, Psa_63:2.
  2. It is the great support of the church that it is the church of the living God, the true God in opposition to false gods, dumb and dead idols.
  3. As the church of God, it is the pillar and ground of truth; that is, either, (1.) The church itself is the pillar and ground of truth. Not that the authority of the scriptures depends upon that of the church, as the papists pretend, for truth is the pillar and ground of the church; but the church holds forth the scripture and the doctrine of Christ, as the pillar to which a proclamation is affixed holds forth the proclamation. Even to the principalities and powers in heavenly places is made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, Eph_3:10. (2.) Others understand it of Timothy. He, not he himself only, but he as an evangelist, he and other faithful ministers, are the pillars and ground of truth; it is their business to maintain, hold up, and publish, the truths of Christ in the church. It is said of the apostles that they seemed to be pillars, Gal_2:9. [1.] Let us be diligent and impartial in our own enquiries after truth; let us buy the truth at any rate, and not think much of any pains to discover it. [2.] Let us be careful to keep and preserve it. “Buy the truth, and sell it not (Pro_23:23), do not part with it on any consideration.” [3.] Let us take care to publish it, and to transmit it safe and uncorrupted unto posterity. [4.] When the church ceases to be the pillar and ground of truth, we may and ought to forsake her; for our regard to truth should be greater than our regard to the church; we are no longer obliged to continue in the church than she continues to be the pillar and ground of truth.
  4. But what is the truth which the churches and ministers are the pillars and grounds of? He tells us (1Ti_3:16) that without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. The learned Camero joins this with what goes before, and then it runs thus: “The pillar and ground of the truth, and without controversy great is the mystery of godliness.” He supposes this mystery to be the pillar, etc. Observe,

(1.) Christianity is a mystery, a mystery that could not have been found out by reason or the light of nature, and which cannot be comprehended by reason, because it is above reason, though not contrary thereto. It is a mystery, not of philosophy or speculation; but of godliness, designed to promote godliness; and herein it exceeds all the mysteries of the Gentiles. It is also a revealed mystery, not shut up and sealed; and it does not cease to be a mystery because now in part revealed. But,

(2.) What is the mystery of godliness? It is Christ; and here are six things concerning Christ, which make up the mystery of godliness. [1.] That he is God manifest in the flesh: God was manifest in the flesh. This proves that he is God, the eternal Word, that was made flesh and was manifest in the flesh. When God was to be manifested to man he was pleased to manifest himself in the incarnation of his own Son: The Word was made flesh, Joh_1:14. [2.] He is justified in the Spirit. Whereas he was reproached as a sinner, and put to death as a malefactor, he was raised again by the Spirit, and so was justified from all the calumnies with which he was loaded. He was made sin for us, and was delivered for our offences; but, being raised again, he was justified in the Spirit; that is, it was made to appear that his sacrifice was accepted, and so he rose again for our justification, as he was delivered for our offences, Rom_4:25. He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, 1Pe_3:18. [3.] He was seen of angels. They worshipped him (Heb_1:6); they attended his incarnation, his temptation, his agony, his death, his resurrection, his ascension; this is much to his honour, and shows what a mighty interest he had in the upper world, that angels ministered to him, for he is the Lord of angels. [4.] He is preached unto the Gentiles. This is a great part of the mystery of godliness, that Christ was offered to the Gentiles a Redeemer and Saviour; that whereas, before, salvation was of the Jews, the partition-wall was now taken down, and the Gentiles were taken in. I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, Act_13:47. [5.] That he was believed on in the world, so that he was not preached in vain. Many of the Gentiles welcomed the gospel which the Jews rejected. Who would have thought that the world, which lay in wickedness, would believe in the Son of God, would take him to be their Saviour who was himself crucified at Jerusalem? But, notwithstanding all the prejudices they laboured under, he was believed on, etc. [6.] He was received up into glory, in his ascension. This indeed was before he was believed on in the world; but it is put last, because it was the crown of his exaltation, and because it is not only his ascension that is meant, but his sitting at the right hand of God, where he ever lives, making intercession, and has all power, both in heaven and earth, and because, in the apostasy of which he treats in the following chapter, his remaining in heaven would be denied by those who pretend to bring him down on their altars in the consecrated wafers. Observe, First, He who was manifest in flesh was God, really and truly God, God by nature, and not only so by office, for this makes it to be a mystery. Secondly, God was manifest in flesh, real flesh. Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, Heb_2:14. And, what is more amazing, he was manifest in the flesh after all flesh had corrupted his way, though he himself was holy from the womb. Thirdly, Godliness is a mystery in all its parts and branches, from the beginning to the end, from Christ’s incarnation to his ascension. Fourthly, It being a great mystery, we should rather humbly adore it, and piously believe it, than curiously pry into it, or be too positive in our explications of it and determinations about it, further than the holy scriptures have revealed it to us

The Church is a visable entity seen in the local assembly through the Biblical teaching of its pastor, teachers, each faithful individual; also the worship of each congregation in singing of hymns, songs, spiritual songs, and being stewards in giving of our time, and God given resources.

Just to point out  one more thing.  Each of the  apostle Paul’s letters to churches – Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica – were written to the local congregation of that city.

 

The Defense

“And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” Acts 26:6-7 (KJB)

The apostle is now standing before the King of Israel.  I cannot help but think that as Paul stands there he could be thinking of one day standing before Jesus, the King of kings, and giving an account of his life.

Now as he stands before King Agrippa he is giving his own defense for the Jews accusations against him. Some of the same accusations brought against Jesus.  False charges are always charged by those who have no true rebuttal against the faithful.

Paul has been told by the Lord that he would go to Rome (Acts 23:11).  Is he worried?  I really doubt it.  Is he fearful?  He is trusting the Lord for His defense, and deliverance and trip to Rome.

Agrippa was a man who was educated in the Jewish religion, and the  apostle used that to defend his own ministry and words.  If you will remember our Lord said that some of His disciples would stand before kings (Mark 13:9).  Of course in that reference it is dealing with the last days.  Just a thought here: the last days began with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; possibly even the birth of Jesus.

Let us who are in Christ continue in the faithfulness of the word of God and the gospel of Christ Jesus.  Lord God Almighty keep us in Your powerful hands to always be faithful. Give us boldness through the filling of Your Spirit, that in and through all things we might walk with You.

This Jesus

“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:32 (KJB)

There have been and still are many ways the name “Jesus” is said, used, and abused.  There are, in fact, many Jesus’s in this world, and there always has been.  When you speak of Jesus which one do you make reference of?

The One in our text is the One who came as a Suffering Servant/King.  He came into this world just as we all do, by birth from His mother’s womb.  His conception was far different from ours.  His Father was Jehovah/YHWH the All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Present One; the Immutable One – He never changes.

The One of whom I write this morning is the One who was despised of mankind, hated, mocked, spit upon, falsely accused of blasphemy, and doing good.

“This Jesus” took upon Himself willingly all the sins of the world.  All of my sins; all of your sins and was judged by the Judge of the universe as a sinner; yet He Himself was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was buried in a borrowed tomb. He arose and came out of that grave.  No one has ever found His body. There is none to find.  He is alive

This Jesus is the Jesus of whom Peter is speaking in Acts 2.  When Peter says, “…Whereof we all are witnesses” he is speaking of the apostles, and those who saw the resurrected Jesus.

Those of us who believe in “This Jesus” today are also witnesses of the crucified, buried, and resurrected Jesus.  Though we have not seen Him, yet, we have seen the fruits of His Spirit, and the power of the spiritual gifts He gives all who have come to Him.

Let us choose to be vibrant, diligent, faithful, holy, witnesses for This Jesus.

While in Thought the Fire Burned

“I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, ‘LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.  Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.’ Selah.”  Psalm 39:1-5  (KJB)

The Psalmist, the singer, was refusing to speak and be silent.  While he is being silent his thoughts rage, the fire burns as he continues to add fuel to that fire.

I have been there.  I am fairly certain that all who are reading this has been in that place where you bridle your tongue, and wisely so, but the anger, the hurt continues to rage in your thoughts.  What do we do with that?

David realized he had a problem.  He took it to the LORD.  So must we take it to Him.

Going to God in prayer is the best place to vent, to complain about that man or woman or situation that has caused our thoughts to roar at us; rousing anger, rage, and maybe even bits of hatred.

I was asked not too long ago, ‘Don’t you ever get angry?’  My answer to that was, “Yes!”  If it is not seen by others there must be something going on. One of at least two things: 1.  I am just covering it and building a fire in me making me even angrier; or 2.  I have taken the rage, anger, and hatred to the throne of God.

The first can be dangerous.  The second is the way of the faithful Christian. When we take our complaints to the Lord, then we will have less of a problem getting along with others.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to deliver us from our sins.  He was buried to carry away our sins and shame.  He arose from the grave the victor over sin, death, and hell.  He is coming again.  Do you know Him?

Wounds of a Friend; the Kisses of an Enemy

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Proverbs 27:1-6  (KJB)

– Proverbs 27:1-27

Verses 1-6 –  Boasting, pride, arrogance, leads to sorrow (vv. 1-2).  The anger and wrath of the cruel is heavier on their own lives than is a stone over a wells mouth (vv. 3-4).

“The rabbins have a curious story on this subject, and it has been formed by the moderns into a fable. There were two persons, one covetous and the other envious, to whom a certain person promised to grant whatever they should ask; but double to him who should ask last. The covetous man would not ask first, because he wished to get the double portion, and the envious man would not make the first request because he could not bear the thoughts of thus benefiting his neighbor. However, at last he requested that one of his eyes should be taken out, in order that his neighbor might lose both.”

The rebuke of a friend is sweeter than the flattery of an enemy (vv. 5-6).

Verses 7-10 –  “Prov. 27:7–10 These four proverbs each teach an element of wisdom that can stand on its own, but they have additional application when taken together. Verse 7 deals with honey, a pleasant treat, and v. 9 deals with oil and perfume, luxuries that here represent a banquet (an ancient host provided perfumed oils for his guests at a banquet). Also, v. 7 says that something bitter is sweet to a hungry man, while v. 9 speaks of the sweetness of earnest counsel. Together, vv. 7 and 9 suggest that it is good to have friends for the occasional party, but it is better yet to have a friend willing and able to give good advice. Verse 8 speaks of someone who wanders far from his home (his immediate family) and leaves it unprotected, while v. 10 concerns someone in need whose brother (his immediate family) is far away. Together, they teach that there are benefits in remaining close to family, but a person should not hesitate to turn to a true friend when in need.”  From the ESV Study Bible pp. 1181 & 1182.

Verses 11-12 –  A wise son is a blessing to his father.  His words, and acts are the fruits, quite often, of the father’s teaching and life.  With that in mind we know of examples where the teaching and life of the father never took root with some sons (v. 11).

The wise father and son both know how to examine things before proceeding forward with acts.  The wise will hide themselves from evil; the “simple” will proceed into it (v. 12).

Verses 13-14 –  More warning of co-signing a loan for someone; and having anything to do with foreign women – that is; foreign to the faith, morality, and righteousness.
Sometimes even social greetings and encounters must be measured by tact (v. 14).

Verses 15-16 –  See Proverbs 19:13; 21:9.  The type of woman mentioned here is one who is hard to get along with, and hard to hold on to.

Verses 17-18 –  Not only is encouragement needed among men and women, but also teaching, correction, instruction, and exhortation (v. 17).
For verse 18; See Song of Solomon 8:12;  1 Corinthians 3:8: 9:7;  2 Timothy 2:6.

Verses 19-22 –  Many of us have looked into a clear pool of water, and have seen our reflection.  We know what we look like on the surface; but only God knows our heart (v. 19).
God knows the heart of man and a man.  The foolish individual is one who will never learn, even though he/she might be beaten and bruised over and over; the foolishness will not depart from them (vv. 20-22).

Verses 23-27 –  Those who have possessions, whether it be cattle, sheep, other material goods, homes and lands needs to realize they are not permanent; they are temporary.  Because of this we must be wise in the maintenance and care of what God has entrusted to our care.

They Watched Him

Jesus had a way, His way of aggravating the religious crowd of His day.  That religion was steeped in legalism, and little mercy or grace.  It seemed they knew nothing about grace for their people; but allowed much, with loopholes around some of their traditions for themselves.

When the disciples with Jesus were walking through a field of grain, and they were scooping their fingers through the heads freeing the grains seeds from the tops, rolling the grain in their hands to free the good from the chaff, then blowing the chaff away with a strong breath; and they were doing it on the sabbath day [Saturday]; then, the scribes and Pharisees considered that a violation of the sabbath.

On another sabbath day Jesus had entered a synagogue to worship, and there was a man there with a withered right hand.  The Pharisees and the scribes watched Jesus to see what He would do.  Our verse today…

“And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him, whether He would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against Him.” Luke 6:7  (KJB)

They watched Him with ill intent.  They watched Him to bring harm.  They watched Him to eventually kill Him.  Why?  They hated Him, His life, His teaching, and probably His boldness and authority with which He spoke.  He put religion on notice as well.

Those who follow Jesus, are faithful to Him, and His teaching- His doctrine will be watched too.  Sometimes for the same reasons as those who were watching Jesus. What are we to do?  Live faithfully for Christ.  Put Him on daily (Romans 13:12;  Galatians 3:27;  Ephesians 4:24; 6:11) all the things of Christ Jesus.  Do not fear; be faithful.

I will leave with you a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary on Luke 6:7…

“Among those who were the hearers of Christ’s excellent doctrine, and the eye-witnesses of his glorious miracles, there were some who came with no other design than to pick quarrels with him, Luk_6:7. The scribes and Pharisees would not, as became generous adversaries, give him fair warning that, if he did heal on the sabbath day, they would construe it into a violation of the fourth commandment, which they ought in honour and justice to have done, because it was a case without precedent (none having ever cured as he did), but they basely watched him, as the lion does his prey, whether he would heal on the sabbath day, that they might find an accusation against him, and surprise him with a prosecution.” From the MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY

The Precious of Your Eye

The Apple of Your Eye – Proverbs 7:1-27

Verses 1 – 5  –  The keeping, protecting power of the Commandment.  A commandment to “guard”, “give heed to”, “wait for”, “retain”, “treasure”

v. 2 – “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings…” Psalm 17:8, See also Deuteronomy 32:10;  Lamentations 2:18;  and Zachariah 2:8.  The pupil of the eye is a sensitive part of the eye, thus the faithful Christian is one who will treasure, retain, “Keep” the commandments, the word of God as precious in life, for life.

v. 4 –  “Sister” Part of the family, one dear to the heart.  See Song of Solomon 4:9, 10, 12; 5:1, 2. The way of evil is to keep one from holiness, and to move the naive toward unrighteous and evil deeds.

Verses 6 – 23 –  The path of the simple minded and ignorant.

v. 9 – “The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.” Job 24:15

v. 14 – See Leviticus 7:11-18.  “Peace offerings” were a part of the Hebrew worship.  This is the way of evil.  There is probably more evil within the churches of the USA than most of us would like to admit, or think.   Hypocrisy is pretending to be something one is not.  Whether it is a wolf acting as a sheep; or a sheep acting as a wolf it is hypocrisy.

“…Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour…” 1 Thessalonians 4:2-4

There is a much greater danger than the husband returning home (vv. 19-20).  There is first the offense of God; there is the offense to one’s self; there is the offense of one’s future spouse; and the offense of the offended spouse.  There is also possible reference to disease in verse 23.

Verses 24 – 27 –  God’s plea for knowledge and wisdom to control one’s thinking.  Matthew Henry Commentary states,

“Take fair warning when it is given you.’’ (1.) “Look back, and see what mischief this sin has done. The adulteress has been the ruin not of here and there one, but she has cast down many wounded.’’ Thousands have been undone, now and for ever, by this sin; and those not only the weak and simple youths, such as he was of whom he had now spoken, but many strong men have been slain by her, v. 26. Herein, perhaps, he has an eye especially to Samson, who was slain by this sin, and perhaps to David too, who by this sin entailed a sword upon his house, though so far the Lord took it away that he himself should not die. These were men not only of great bodily strength, but of eminent wisdom and courage, and yet their fleshly lusts prevailed over them. Howl, fir-trees, if the cedars be shaken. Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (2.) “Look forward with an eye of faith, and see what will be in the end of it,’’ v. 27. Her house, though richly decked and furnished, and called a house of pleasure, is the way to hell; and her chambers are the stair-case that goes down to the chambers of death and everlasting darkness. The cup of fornication must shortly be exchanged for the cup of trembling; and the flames of lust, if not quenched by repentance and mortification, will burn to the lowest hell. Therefore stand in awe and sin not.”  From the Libronix Digital Library System.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Faithfulness in Marriage to God

Faithfulness in Marriage – Proverbs 5:1-23

Verses 1 – 6 –  The path of adultery leads to death.  We can see by these wise words that there is a likeness in marriage of one man and one woman to the relationship between men and God.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:22- 33

Verses 7 – 14 –  Give diligence to keep yourself from the strange woman.  I think it would be correct to say that any man who cannot be faithful to his wife; will probably not be faithful to God; in fact; is not faithful to God by the very act of adultery.  Not only is the man, or woman committing adultery against their spouse, but against God, because they are holding something dearer to their heart than the commandment of God.

“But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”  Psalms 115:3-8

Verses 15 – 20 –  The wife, or husband is  to be the source of the man’s, or woman’s physical intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating.  Likewise the Lord GOD is to be the source of the man’s and womans spiritual intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating;

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…” Ephesians 5:18

Verses 21 – 23 –  The LORD sees and knows the ways of man.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…”  2 Chronicles 16:9

Since the eyes of the LORD run to and fro througout the whole earth; it shoud be obvious that they will also see the wicked and know their hearts.
The best of human relationships can be found in the marriage of a man and woman who are happily serving the Lord together, in their lives individually, and in their faithfulness in marriage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Children of Men

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?”  Psalm 12:1-4 (KJV)

Before we get too far into this study we might want and need to know who the “Children of men” are.  They are those who have not been godly.  They are those whose hearts are in the world and all that they can hold.  They are those who would definitely need redemption if it is possible.

The saddest part of the above verses is that the “Faithful” have failed among the “Children of men”. We have failed to lift up holiness in the Lord.  We have failed to be godly in our lives.  We have failed to be witnesses of the saving power, and all the awesome power of Holy God.

The children of men speak vanity – useless, empty, evil, false things – which often cause strife and division.  They have no heart for God, nor the things of God.

We hear of the heart from the words of Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21), and He spoke again and said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:35).  By this we can see that it matters greatly about our hearts.

Flattering lips and a double heart are usually within the heart of the same individual male or female.  A double hearted person is probably lie the double minded individual of James 1:8; “unstable in all their ways”.

Pride in one’s own abilities, words, strength is a surefire way of falling away from doing what is godly, righteous and just.

The surefire way for us all to be good, godly, and righteous before Holy God is to come to Him the only way He has provided.  If we try another way we only exalt ourselves over the Most High God, and are saying to Him, “I am right.  You are wrong.”

He has provided only the way of the cross of Jesus His Son. Come by the cross, or you do not come at all.

 

These Words Are True and Faithful

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. Revelation 21:1-9 (KJV)

Throughout all of Scripture God thrives on making things new. He especially desires to make the hearts of people new.

We have virtually come to the conclusion of mankind’s rule and dominion of the earth. Christ set up His kingdom for one thousand years of utopia. Mankind – unredeemed – has stood before the great white throne and has been rewarded “according to their works” (20:13) and their reward was eternity in “the lake of fire”.

At or around the time of the final judgment the heavens and the earth (old) are destroyed (2 Peter 3:10-12). Chapter 21 begins with “a new heaven and a new earth”. The “new heaven” does not mean the abode of God, but the atmosphere and planets of, probably, earth’s solar system. Evidently, the old earth and heaven are so polluted by the evil of man that it is destroyed and remade. That is an amazing show of God’s grace – He redeems a segment of mankind, but destroys the old earth, and creates a new one on which the redeemed can dwell for all eternity.

Verses 3 and 4 provide us with eternal presence of God and His glory. “The tabernacle of God is with men” can refer back to John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us…”. Just as Jesus put on flesh to dwell among us we will put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:53-54) in order that we might bear the glory of God eternally.  Remember His name is Immanuel which means “God with us”.

There will be no tears – God will wipe them away. There will be no death – it has been defeated. There will be no sorrow – for what reason would there be for it? No crying; this is different than tears in that crying involves sounds of sorrow – since tears and sorrow are no more. No more pain – this will be especially great for those who are suffering pain from arthritis, or other sickness or disease. The old way is no more.  Also see Isaiah 65:17.

If God says He will “make all things new” we can trust that He will bring it to pass. He is Faithful and True (19:11).

The blessing of those who receive Christ and the damnation of the unbelieving is a True and Faithful word from God.

Even while John is writing this blessed Revelation God says, “It is done”. Everything He had planned on doing is as good as done. Nothing that has taken place has happened against His will. From the beginning, in God’s mind, the salvation of man was as good as done. What God has said will be. A-MEN.

One of the angels that had part in the seven vials [bowls] of plagues came to John with an invitation.

The invitation was to see the “Bride, the Lamb’s wife”. Who is the Lamb’s wife? None other than the Church. Which are those who are born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, His burial, and resurrection. Where is the Bride? Gathered in the holy city.

 

To Fulfill God’s Will

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And He saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:14-18

From verses 12 – 13 of the previous post, The “Ten horns” are ten kings which will rule the earth.

These unite to make war with the Lamb. They will be defeated by the Lamb because He is the “Lord of lords, and King of kings”.

There are four descriptions of the people of Christ: 1) They are with Him, 2) Are called, 3) Chosen, and 4) Faithful.

The fall of Religious Babylon is described in these verses. The sovereignty of God is seen throughout all of Scripture and it is none the less so here. God using a wicked political system to put away the wicked religious system. God hates hypocrisy and destroys all religion that opposes His plan and will for mankind. Remember this, “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will… until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  God does work in mysterious ways; His wonders to perform.

When these political rulers think they are serving their own purposes and plans they will actually be carrying out the judgment of the Holy God upon the unholy harlot.

Any religion that bases salvation of man upon works, rather than by grace through faith, is a false religion and will fall under the judgment of our holy God.

The keeping of sacraments, indulgences, confession, rosary, witnessing, saying empty words, are works; and not grace provided by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. To claim works obtain salvation is to make void the cross of Christ, and commit “spiritual adultery”.

WORKS ARE THE FRUIT OF SALVATION, NOT THE CAUSE.

This will be THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MOTHER/CHILD RELIGION. Let me pose a question. Could this beast be the beast of democracy?

Religion rides highly in democratic governments, in most cases. Just think about many of the political campaigns of our day. Somehow “god” always comes into the picture. God is a big campaign word.  It is sad when the name of God is used in Church to make personal gain.  It is sad to see it in politics as well.  It is even spiritually gross to hear His name used to promote wrong, vile, and evil things.

O, friend, will you turn your life; your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength over to Him now?  He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He arose alive, and lives forever.  Call on His name and He will hear you, save you, and give you eternal life.

Fear None of Those Things…

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:8-11 (KJV)

Facing sorrows through trials of our faith we find assurance, in this letter to the church in Smyrna, of the eternalness of Jesus, and His promise of eternal riches to those who are overcomers. The “Crown of Life” is promised to those who are “Faithful unto death”.

The church at Smyrna was a suffering church. They had nothing of the world’s goods or praise. They did have the praise of Jesus. That means more than anything.

Polycarp was the bishop of the church and he was put to death for his faith. In John Walvoord’s THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST he writes, speaking of Polycarp, “When asked by his heathen judges to recant his Christian faith, he replied, ‘Four score and six years have I served the Lord, and He never wronged me: How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?”. Polycarp seems to characterize the whole church at Smyrna.

The city of Smyrna is still in existence today, known as Izmir, unlike Ephesus which is in ruins. When Christians are willing to stand no matter what, it has redeeming qualities for all of society. There is also a Christian church in the city. How? By overcoming.

The church of Smyrna needed to hear from the One who is the “First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive”. Smyrna is located approximately 35 – 50 miles north of Ephesus. Like Ephesus, it too is a port city. The two cities probably struggled over which was the chief city of the region.

The word ‘Smyrna’ means “Myrrh”. Myrrh was used for embalming the dead. It was also used in Tabernacle worship, and as a perfume. The significance of this is the way in which Jesus identifies Himself to the church at Smyrna. “I Am the eternal One, which became dead, and I Am alive forevermore”.  Myrrh was used in the burial of Christ.

These are certainly encouraging words. Our Savior who was humiliated and put to open shame upon the cross, and put to death is encouraging the church to stay on course because they too will live eternally. They too may die; you may someday get to die for your faith in Jesus, but that is not the end. You have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

His “I know” of verse 9 is somewhat different from His “I know” for the church of Ephesus.

The church is suffering fiery persecution. “Poor” means they were poor in this world’s material things. This partially due to them, as followers of Jesus, having no rights to worship. Their lands and houses could be taken freely because they had no legal protection, no constitutional protections as we have.

Their persecution came by means of the unregenerate people of Smyrna. Both the Gentiles and Jews persecuted the Christians.

“…Jews, and are not” implies a racial identity without a Christ-like identity. In Pauls letter to the Romans he wrote, “…He is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:29). If these “Jews” had been anywhere near obedience to their faith they would have remembered God’s law which says, “…the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:34). Therefore, Jesus says that they “…Are the synagogue of Satan” – lost, no relationship with God, condemned, and needing salvation.

They [the persecuted Christians] are known by those who persecute them as being “Poor”. They are known by Jesus as being “Rich”. How are you known by people? More importantly, how are you known by Jesus? It is much better to be poor to the world and rich with Christ, than to be rich to the world and poor with Jesus.

Jesus is so very gracious. He speaks quite often in the gospels, “Fear not”, or “Be not afraid”. Here in verse 10, He speaks the words again. “Fear none of those things…”.

“If they come and take away your houses or land, do not be afraid. If they come to take you away for torture, pain, and death, do not fear. If they come to take your family, do not be afraid. If they come to ridicule you, do not fear. If they bring false charges against you, do not fear. If they come to take your life, do not be afraid. It is not over. Your life is still in My hands”, Jesus says.

Tribulation and suffering should not be strange for the follower of Jesus. He told us, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33).
Trials and testings come into every believer’s life. Sometimes we suffer because of our faith in Jesus. Sometimes it is because of sin left unconfessed and an unrepentant heart or paying the consequences of sin forgiven. Sometimes it is to keep us from something for our own benefit and His glory.

“Tribulation ten days” is probably a reference to a short period of time. All the troubles we encounter as Christians are of only short duration compared to eternity. Many Christians suffer bad health for years, not because of sin, but for their good, and the glory of Jesus. It is only a short time compared to the glory and splendor of God’s eternal home.

The “Ten days” have also been compared to a period of time from Nero in 64-68 AD., through Diocletian of 303-313 AD. Nero 64-68 AD., Domitian95-96 AD., Trajan 104-117 AD., Marcus Aurelius 161-180 AD. (According to some this is when Polycarp was martyred), Severus 200-211 AD., Maximinius 235-237 AD., Decius 250-253 AD., Valerian 257-260 AD., Aurelian 270-275 AD., and Diocletian 303-313 AD. This would have represented the ten days as being periods of persecution under these leaders.

How faithful would you be to public worship and faith in Jesus Christ if our government suddenly declared worshiping God in Jesus to be illegal? Would you be in Bible study and worship next Sunday? The worship of the church of Smyrna was illegal, yet they worshiped and lived their faith. They suffered. Jesus words were, “Be faithful unto death”. “Don’t be afraid, be faithful”. Even if it means your life, be faithful. Jesus was. He gave His life as not only an act of love for you and me, but also an act of faithfulness to the Father. The reward? He will give a “Crown of life”; “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12). This crown is often equated with being the “Martyrs crown”, but probably received by all who are faithful in life without fear for their lives.

Finally, Jesus says to the church of Smyrna, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches…” (v. 11). Those who are followers of Jesus Christ will hear His voice.
The Spirit gives understanding. He is our ears to the words of the Lord Jesus. The message is now to the individual – “Hear”.

“The second death” is total and eternal separation from God. The word ‘death’, in essence, means separation. Physical death is the separation of the body from life. Spiritual death is the condition all people are born into, separated from God. The “Second death” being different, is only so in that it is eternal separation from God. There is an eternal place where the eternal wrath of God is suffered.

All who overcome are “Born of God”. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4). All who are “Born of God” [born again] overcome. The “second death” has no hurt to the born again (Revelation 20:6). The second death is reserved for those not found in the book of life (20:14), ‘the fearful and unbelieving…the abominable, …shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (21:8).

The only way to miss the “Second death” is to be born twice. The second time through faith in Jesus Christ. Someone once said, “If you were born once, you will die twice. If you were born twice, you will die once.”

Troubles inevitably will come, at least while we live on earth. Some people will ridicule our faith and faithful practices. Sickness comes occasionally or regularly for some. Nevertheless, we are called on to be faithful.

If we keep in mind the humiliation of Jesus and His suffering, even though He was sinless, and the glory that is His after His resurrection, we can overcome every trouble and trial of suffering that comes our way. No material possession can keep us from the “Second death” only Jesus can. After all, He is THE RESURRECTED ONE, and has all authority to say “Fear none of those things”.

Brethren, Pray for Us…

Even the apostle Paul; maybe I should say, “The apostle Paul” needed prayer just as any of us do.  Prayer must not be something we do only when we have an emergency situation.  We “…ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).  Sometimes we get requests for praying for specific personal needs from others, and that is good.  Paul had need in the following request because he sensed, that the word and gospel of Jesus Christ were being attacked and hindered.

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (KJV)

I am certain Paul had other more personal needs, but this request shows that his heart was on the things of Christ, not of the flesh.  Note that he first asked that the word have free course; that it would spread throughout Thessalonica, and surrounding areas freely, in power, and with speed.  He requested that we pray for the glory of God, and His word, and to be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for there are people in the world who get hateful toward the word of God, and the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and His cross.  That is true in 2017 as well.

He tells us that “…For all men have not faith”, and the state is a continuation of the “Unreasonable and wicked men” in the areas we live.  Some of these unreasonable people do not want God in anything, even to the point of using law to oppose God, who is the One who has given us law.

Let me end by encouraging you to stay faithful to the Lord in His word, and prayer, living for Him; being a faithful witness of His power and glory; knowing that He is coming soon.  Let us wait patiently for Him.

Remember He loves you so much He willingly went to the cross, died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again, and He is returning.

Christmas Day Twenty and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want everyone to know that every word God has spoken will come to pass; that it will be fulfilled just as He spoke it; than every word He has spoken has already came to pass, is coming to pass right now, and/or will come to pass later; to know that not one word will fail; that you might repent of your sins, and believe in the One whom He has sent – that is Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded, and His Spirit it hath gathered them.” Isaiah 34:16 (KJV)

Christmas Day Thirty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas today?

I always want to be a man of integrity, honesty; no matter my economic condition -rich or poor – and no matter my lot in life; always faithful to the God of Creation through His Son Jesus.

“Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.” Proverbs 19:1 (KJV)

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred and Fifteen

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be faithful and diligent in prayer, praise and thanksgiving to my God and Savior Jesus Christ; to live for Him that His name be glorified in me; and that I never do these things as defiance against human laws, but always in faithfulness to God.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day Two Hundred and One

Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to worship the Lord my God, know Him, and love Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength; that I will serve Him faithfully; that the word of God be my source of fuel/food each day, all day; to stand against the enemy of God and His Word.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Day Three Hundred and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always recognize and know that the LORD is the owner of all that I possess, and that I am only a steward of the things in my care; that I may be found faithful.

The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1 (NKJV)

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2

When GOD Speaks… Listen

There use to be a commercial on television of a financial firm called E. F. Hutton where in the midst of noisy crowds or other noises and such, a man would speak and all would get quiet. Then, a voice would say, “When E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen”. I do not know if I got it completely right, but that is close.

As far as I know now, E. F. Hutton’s firm is no longer in existence. The man himself is probably gone from life. You know what? When God the LORD speaks people ought to listen. He is our Creator. He is our salvation. He is our peace. He is our sustenance.

Reading from Ezekiel 24 – 27 I especially noted these three verses:

“I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.”
“It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.”
“And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 24:14; 26:5, 14 (KJV)

Again, let me share my journal thoughts with you…

I looked back a few chapters, and found this phrase “…For I the LORD have spoken it…” at least two other times; with 12:25 making a fourth. Though 12:25 does not use the phrase, it is strongly emphasized.

One of the reasons I love God’s Word is that what God says comes to pass just as He said it would. The truth of His Word shows us that He is trustworthy, faithful, and True. He cannot lie.

“I the LORD have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings, shall they judge thee, saith the Lord GOD.” 24:14

The Lord GOD is everlasting; and His word is forevermore. In You LORD, and in your Word do I trust.

There is no words of man or men that are sure, faithful, trustworthy or true. Let God be true and every man a liar.

What God was speaking above was to a place called Tyrus; warning them of judgment, and destruction. What He speaks concerning grace, peace, and salvation through His Son Jesus is faithful and true as well. Believe His Son today. Trust Him. He died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and bodily arose and is alive forevermore. When GOD speaks… listen.  Thus saith the LORD.

Thanks, Mercy, and Great Wonders

“O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever. To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 136:2-4 (KJV)

I have a friend who when something happens, something is said that is surprising, or is questionable will say “Mercy”. I am tempted many times when I hear him say that to say “We need more of it”; or “That is from God”. I may have a time or two.

With the events taking place in our world today; a SCOTUS going AWAL from its foundings purpose; to interpret the law not legislate law; it is clear to me that the mercy of God abounds.

Take a look at the verses above: First of all we are to thank God, not our “Lucky stars”, but the God of gods; the One who is more awesome, powerful, and holds all things together; and we are to thank Him for His mercy, because it is enduring forever. Secondly, we are to thank Him because He is the Lord of lords, the Master of the masters, the Husband of the husbands, the Superior of the superiors; and His mercy endures forever. Thirdly, He is the One who does great wonders; I mean think about it, the only One, who does great wonders. No one can design, build, and create like He has done. Look at all the great wonders that are mentioned in this Psalm. Look at the Creation and the order within it; and thank Him, because His mercy endures forever.

Be thankful to God the LORD today, because His mercy is everlasting; He is faithful, and will continue to be faithful no matter what comes into our world, our nation, our town, our county, or our personal lives.

Thank Him because when He could have shown us wrath, He sent us His Son to die on the cross in our place. Now, what will you do with this information? Believe or throw it out?

Help, LORD

“Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.” Psalm 12:1 (KJV)

Help.  A cry for some aid from someone.  Some times anyone will do.  For the Psalmist the cry is made to the LORD – to Jehovah – “Help, LORD”.  Such a simple prayer; a simple request.  O how we need to realize we need His help.

The need David had was that he saw godly men passing away.  Godliness among people was ceasing.  I believe we can see that in our culture, in society today.  I endeavor to be a godly man.  I know other men who endeavor to be godly.

It seems that evil is taking over.  Oh, how we need to plea for godly men and women to rise up, be faithful, and yield to the leadership of the Spirit of God and His Word.

Let me close with words from THE TREASURY OF DAVID,

“For the godly man ceaseth;” the death, departure, or decline of godly men should be a trumpet-call for more prayer, They say that fish smell first at the head, and when godly men decay, the whole commonwealth will soon go rotten. We must not, however, be rash in our judgment on this point, for Elijah erred in counting himself the only servant of God alive, when there were thousands whom the Lord held in reserve. The present times always appear to be peculiarly dangerous, because they are nearest to our anxious gaze, and whatever evils are rife are sure to be observed, while the faults of past ages are further off, and are more easily overlooked. Yet we expect that in the latter days, “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold,” and then we must the more thoroughly turn from man, and address ourselves to the Churches’ Lord, by whose help the gates of hell shall be kept from prevailing against us.

Let the people of God rise up, and live godly through the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Being godly is being different from the world in which we live.  Different in our dress, our speech, our actions, all of life.

God will Fulfill His Word

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.  And he saith unto me, ‘The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  Revelation 17:12-17 (KJV)

For the Christian and living in these troubled times; we need not fear men, nor trust their governments to do what is right and good for mankind.  God and His Lamb has demonstrated His love to us.  God will fulfill His Word.  God will see to it that every dot of the “i” and every cross of the “T” will be fulfilled.  Just as He has said.

-T.A.

The Rich One’s

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; ‘These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.  Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”  Revelation 2:8-11 (KJV)

For further reading and study you may want to read THE RESURRECTED ONE

-T.A.

What We Do In Troubled Times

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  Quench not the Spirit.  Despise not prophesyings.  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14-24 (KJV)

Since the time of the resurrection of Jesus and until today Christians have not been without troubles.  Just like the rest of the world we have sickness, disease, financial setbacks, and ruin.  “In the world you will have tribulation” Jesus said.  He also said, “…Be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.”  I am so thankful for those words.

Many times I have asked myself the question, “What am I supposed to do in such a time as this?”.  The answer is given in the above verses.  In short we are to keep on doing what we are supposed to do; live by faith; trusting the outcome to our beloved Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

-T.A.

Flame of the LORD

Flame Of The LORD

2 Samuel 11:6-17

In this story of the fall of king David is also the story of a man who was faithful, to God, to his wife, to his country and to his king. In this event in the life of David, Uriah is a contrast to David, and gives those of us who aren’t born into a godly home, or godly atmosphere some hope.

It is very likely that Uriah, being a Hittite; had come to believe and trust in the God of Israel and David; and had given himself to the service of God, the people and the king. His name means, “Flame of Jah”, thus the title to the message being “Flame Of The LORD”. Oh, that the Christian of today had the fire of Uriah.

I. URIAH WAS FAITHFUL; THEY KNEW WHERE HE WAS (vv. 3, 6).

A. “It is 10-O-Clock. Do you know where your children are?”

B. Uriah was known as a good soldier, even a “mighty” soldier (23:39).
1. He is called one of David’s “thirty mighty men” (23:8-39).

C. God is faithful; He will always be faithful to His Word, His will, His children and His promises.

“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (KJV)

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck…” 1 Timothy 1:18-19 (KJV)

II. URIAH WAS OBEDIENT TO THE KING’S COMMANDMENT TO RETURN HOME (v. 7).

A. Uriah was probably wondering about the purpose of his being called back to Jerusalem.
1. He may have thought, “The king desires that I get some rest and relaxation”, but his heart had no desire for it.

B. Uriah was obedient to the king’s call.

C. Christian, let us who have been called by our King, hear His voice, do His bidding and when He calls us home do so with the earnestness of this hero of Jerusalem, Israel and Judah.
1. We can rest assured that when our King Jesus calls us to His home He will not have some devious intent in His heart and mind.

III. URIAH WAS LOYAL TO THE KING AND ALL THE OTHER SOLDIERS WHO WERE FAITHFULLY FIGHTING THE BATTLES (vv. 8-13).

A. He is not only loyal to his king, but loyal and faithful to the other soldiers who are not getting the call from the king that he received.
1. Uriah would have made a good United States Marine Corp Officer or soldier. “Semper Fi” or “Always Faithful” is the motto of the Marine Corp, and that seems to have been Uriah’s creed as well.

B. Uriah would not go home to his wife, his heart was on the welfare of the king and his troops on the field.
1. The good soldier is thinking about the safety of the others, and their leader and nation.
2. The heart of Uriah at this point in time puts the heart of king David to shame.

C. David jumped headlong into this adulterous relationship with Uriah’s wife, because he was not doing what he should have been doing.
1. The first verse of chapter eleven includes the following words, “at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah.
2. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.”

IV. URIAH IS FAITHFUL TO GOD, HIS WIFE, HIS COUNTRY AND HIS KING EVEN UNTO DEATH – CARRYING HIS OWN DEATH WARRANT (vv. 14-17).

A. King David upon realization that he would not convince Uriah to get home anytime soon; sent a death warrant by Uriah’s own hand to the General in the field – Joab.
1. Unknowingly, most likely, Uriah takes the hand written message written by the hand of the king that would cause him to die.

B. We have a Savior who was faithful to His Father; all the way to Jerusalem; all the way to Calvary; all the way to the cross; all the way to the tomb; and all the way to His glory which He had with the Father from the beginning (John 17:5).
1. We by faith in Him and His finished work on the cross put on His righteousness, His garments, and take on the characteristics which led Him to the obedient, faithful, loving life that led to His cross; His place of death and dying for the sins of the world.

C. Uriah means “Flame of Jah” or “Flame of the Lord”, and surely he was the flame of God burning in Israel when the “man after God’s own heart” had plunged into darkness of sin.

D. Oh, Christian when we see a brother or sister in Christ; who has plunged headlong into sin; whether they be a church leader, leader’s wife, or the man or woman in the pew; that is the time to be the “Flame of the LORD”. (Galations 6:1-2)
1. Stand as an example of faith and light, be faithful to God, and don’t let the darkness of sin pull you in and down.
2. Jesus said, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” Luke 12:49 (KJV). His Holy Spirit within His followers are the possessors of that Fire; and that Fire possesses us as well. Let us walk in the light of that flame.

Day 17 – Judges to Ruth

My reading today was only 13 chapters.  It was however a very rewarding experience; as it usually is reading the Word of God.  Reading the Judges chapter thirteen through 21 you will find a common phrase in it in the latter chapters.

“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6

That verse is also the very last words of the book of Judges.  We will look at that a bit later. One other time the phrase “In those days thee was no king in Israel” (18:1) is used.  My thought on that is that God is speaking of a godly spiritual leader.

The stories of the Judges is a dark one due to disobedience or “partial obedience” which is disobedience.

We read of God’s grace toward the people of Israel by the appearance of the “angel of the LORD ” appearing to Manoah’s wife, and telling her she will have a son.  This angel of the LORD is believed by many; and I am one of those; to be the preincarnate revelation of the Son of God.  If you will note Manoah and his wife “fell on their faces to the ground” (13:20); an act of worship; and Manoah confesses “We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” (13:22).  The “angel of the LORD” accepted the worship without any rebuke to them.

Samson was the promised son to Manoah and his wife from God.  Samson was truly a “rascal”.  He was a pain in the sides of the tormenters of Israel.  He was however faithful to God and God’s ordained purpose in his life.  Of Samson the writer of Hebrews mentions him in the “Hall of faith” (Hebrews 11:32); along with Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, David and Samuel.

There are probably many professing Christians today who might say something like;  “Well I sure don’t want to be in place where people like that are.”  Too bad.  If you have that kind of attitude you have yet to see your own heart; and the evil within.

There was much rebellious, rachus living going on in Israel in those days.  We find a man who made on Levite his own private priest (chapter 17).  He and his idols were taken by the Danites for their own private priest; and this is all contrary to the word of God.

Another Levite took a concubine who was unfaithful, and ended up in war with the tribe of Benjamin nearly destroying the whole tribe.  There is much darkness and evil in Judges, yet God rules, even when there is no other king in Israel (see also chapter 19:1).

The book of Ruth takes place during the time of the Judges; and is such a great story of redemption, grace and the power of God and His sovereignty.

Elimelech, due to a famine  in the land of Israel, packs up his family and moves to Moab, the land which wanted to curse Israel; and he and his sons die in the land; leaving their wives widows.  Naomi, the wife of Elimelech and mother of Mahlon and Chilion  hears things are better back home and proceeds to leave, but tells her two daughters in law they are not required to go with her; but Ruth chooses to go.

Because of Ruth’s faith she is now in the lineage of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  From what had been a judgment upon the nation of Israel, God was working, to bring redemption to His people and to the world.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25

“And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.  Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, and Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, and Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.”  Ruth 4:17-22 (KJV)

You might also want to read Matthew 1:1-17;  the lineage of our Lord and Savior.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

 

The Horrible Thing

Being told that the word God gives you is going to be as fire and the people to who you speak as the wood would be a very serious thing.  This is what has happened to Jeremiah.  In verse 14 of chapter five Jeremiah is told just that; “…I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.”

The weeping prophet I am pretty sure would have been weeping, sorrowing over these words.  He had probably been weeping over the spiritual condition of His people.  Their spiritual and moral condition was not good.  They had an impending threat against them which they were oblivious of.

It is amazing how in a blessed society, of any age, or time how people begin wandering away from the One who has blessed them and begin attributing their blessings to human ability, or human achievements, or maybe even a religion of sorts, and their “faithfulness” to perform their rituals at the expense of truth and faithfulness to the One who has called for their faithfulness.  Those things are what had happened in Judah, Jerusalem.

These things have happened in the world today in nations who once knew God, but have turned away from him.  When they have done so they progressively become prone to dismissing evil actions as being good.  Many of them will claim a rich history of faith, but have none now.  It is a very sad thing when our Creator must speak words of judgment against us to call us back to Himself.

Hear the words of God to the prophet –

“Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.  Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men.  And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.  Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you.  And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.  Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,  Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:  Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?  But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.  Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.  For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.  As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.  They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.  Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?  A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”  Jeremiah 5:15-31 (KJV)

The LORD will not leave sin in the midst of those who profess His name.  He will deal with those sins that offend Him.  Those things which offend Him seem not to offend wayward people.  Forsaking Him is the one thing that many seem to be doing today.  It is, however, wonderful to know that there are many who are also coming to Him, and many who are faithful to Him.  What is your relationship with the LORD today?  How is your fellowship with the LORD today?

The prophet is being told that an army is coming which will destroy the nation, the temple, the way of life that they have grown so comfortable with, and yet so lax in sin.  They have presented themselves as a godly people without worshipping God.  They have turned their backs on fellowship with God.

Fellowship with God comes through faith in Christ Jesus.  Fellowship with God is walking with Him.  The prophet Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)  That simply means that to walk with God we must walk in agreement with Him.  You aren’t walking with Him when you aren’t walking obediently.

In the middle of this Scripture we do find a promise. It is this, “Nevertheless, in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you.” (v. 18).  Even with judgment lurking at the door; they have the promise of God that He is not finished with His people.

I have said it before, and believe it to be a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon that, “God will not allow His children to sin successfully”.  When we sin against Him the Holy Spirit within us will afflict us, make us very uncomfortable with our sin, and bring us back to Him.  We cannot dwell/live with sin in our lives.  To live with sin in our lives, and remain unconvicted, unrepentant, and unmoved would say quite loudly that we are not His.  When we are His God will do whatever is necessary to bring us back into fellowship with Himself; even to the point of taking our wealth, our health, our family, our friends, or our freedom.

This is how the LORD worked in Judah and Israel.  This is also how He can and does work in the lives of Christians.  He is the One who is holy, righteous, and undefiled; and He will have His people to be holy, righteous and undefiled as well.  When He speaks we better listen and obey.

How did Judah and Jerusalem end up with this looming threat over their heads?  Verses 30 and 31 tell us;  “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, the priest bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

People turning their backs on God because the prophet (preacher) and the priests (the spiritual leaders) do not proclaim the word of the LORD, but their own visions, dreams, hopes [empty] and desires.  They have wanted a following for themselves rather than a holy people for God.  They have feared the people rather than God.

Within Christianity every child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection; is a priest of God.  We all have access to the very throne of grace, before the face of God.  When we fail to have personal time before the throne we fail God, and the people we are witnesses to.

I wonder sometimes just how many churches and pastors there are in our country and the world who actually proclaims the word of God in the language of the people, from the throne of grace?  By our silence of God’s word we condemn the people. We don’t help them with a message of prosperity, self helps, and or self praise.  The word of God is what is needed in today’s world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Walk of Faith

The Walk of Faith

“And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.” Genesis 17:23-27 (KJV).

Abraham follows the LORD in the obedience of faith. Faith is not to gain favor with God, but is the gift of God, and because of favor with God. God always takes first initiative. If it were left up to us we would never reach up to Him.

Abraham’s faith was an implicit obedience. He did as God had said to Him. He asked no reason why.

It was a speedy obedience. It was done “in the selfsame day”. Delayed obedience is disobedience. When we have God’s direction to do something that is the time to act, and do it. Do not let the sun set on your God given direction.

It was total obedience. He did not excuse himself – he too was circumcised. He passed the seal of the covenant of faith to the rest of his family and all those who would follow him.

The head of the Christian family, who is faithful to Christ, will lead his family, and his associates in the ways of the faith.

Walking with God is of great importance for the Christian. We can learn much about this walk by this portion of Scripture dealing with the eternal covenant of God. Earlier there was mentioned four different types of “Walking With God”. You can see them in this text. 1. Walk before God; 2. Walk after God; 3. Walk with God; 4. Walk in God. The first as that child running ahead of the father closely watched and protected, and the last being to walk in union with God – His thoughts being our thoughts, His ways being our ways, His desire being our desires. All Christians are somewhere in these walks with God. If you are not walking with Him you are not on His journey. Get on it.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Of What was Abram Afraid?

Of What Was He Fearful???

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1 (KJV).

There is a possible clue as to why Abraham was fearful. “After these things…” could be referring to, and most likely is referring to the events which have just transpired. He has fought a great battle, delivering his nephew Lot, Lot’s family, the people of the cities of the plain, and taken back their possessions. There could possibly have been some very angry family members of those defeated kings. Abraham may have been fearful of a reprisal from those sons, daughters, uncles, and cousins.

One of the things which seems to be prominent throughout Scriptures is that when a man of faith has won a victory in one thing, he is immediately prone to fall into fear following it. Take for example Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings, and his victory on Mount Carmel in chapter eighteen, then his fear in chapter nineteen. We have many things about Abraham which reminds us he was a human man, capable of sinning, capable of failing, and falling. We find him faithful through his whole life – faithful.

God, in a vision came to Abraham, speaking to him, calling his name, “Fear not, Abram…”. Does it not do your heart good to know that people of higher office or position knows you by name, and not in a disciplinary way. Well, here we have the God of creation, calling one of His creation by name. You know what? The day I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He called me by name; and He called you by name; or is doing so right now. He knows you and He knows your heart. He knows your joys, fears, doubts, and unbelief.

Abraham had experienced great victory against the kings who captured Lot and the people of the cities. God seems to be reminding him of who it was that actually gave him the victory. It was not with swords, spears, or arrows; it was by the hand of God. Abraham was trusting the Lord as he went into the insurmountable numbers of enemy soldiers of the battle. He would not have entered into the battle without the great assurance of faith in the God who called him here.

The “Friend of God” had seen the power of the Shield of God which protected him and his servants who went and fought beside him. Rather than taking the bounty of the war he refused it; trusting the Lord instead to provide his exceeding great reward, and in fact be Abraham’s exceeding great reward.