Hear and Hold On

Hearing and Holding On – Proverbs 4:1-27

Verses 1-13 –  Hold on to wisdom; like a family heirloom.  Children are the fruit of marriage, and the responsibility of their teaching, their learning is that of the father and mother.  It is, however the responsibility of the child to learn the teachings which they are taught.  Hearing instruction; godly instruction; as lived by the parent is necessary for the child to see as well as hear.

When God is our Father, our Instructor/Teacher we know that His teaching is never in error.  If we err from His teaching it is the child who errs not the Father.  Remember Wisdom is personified in Proverbs, and is seen in the New Testament as Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.

Verses 14-19 –  There are two paths which each individual must choose from.  “The way of wisdom” is mentioned in verse 11.  We are shown that there are two  paths people can take.  “…The path of the wicked…” (v. 14), and “…The path of the just…” (v. 18).

The just and wise person is warned not to enter the path of wickedness.  It is the path of darkness and the way of evil men.  The path of the just is “…as the shining light…”.  The way of darkness is filled with dangerous, headlong, falls, that lead to death, destruction, deception, and eternal despair.  Most of all eternal darkness, separated from God, and His grace, mercy and love.

The path of the just is light filled with visibility.  There are falls, but the righteous can fall and rise again to continue in the way of light (Proverbs 24:16).  Decisions are made with clarity, and with a cause that will glorify the LORD.

Verses 20- 22 –  The child must give heed to the teaching of the parent’s wisdom received from God.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35 KJV

There is life and light for all who choose wisdom, justness, and righteousness.

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8;  also see Psalm 16:11).

Verses 23-27 –  From the e-Sword edition of the Pulpit Commentary we find,

“WHAT IS TO BE KEPT. The heart. In the Bible the “heart” represents what we call the “head” as well as the affections and conscience to which we confine the word “heart;” i.e. it stands for the whole inner nature, the life of thought, feeling, and will. This is the “Town of Mansoul,” and it has the various constituents of a town.
1. Entrance gates. The soul is always receiving thoughts and impulses from without. It is important to see that no adulterated article, no poison, no subject of infectious disease comes in. Debased, false, and immoral impressions must be warded off.
2. Ways of exit. The broad river bears on her bosom argosies from the busy city to many a distant port. Let us see that the cargo is of good wares, in good measure, honestly realizing professions, containing no injurious things. Some hearts export only sham products, some deadly poisons. Deeds, words, even smiles and glances carrying thought and influences out of the soul must be carefully guarded.
3. Internal thoroughfares. The town is a network of streets and passages. Busy thoughts run to and fro in the heart. Let the traffic be orderly, the road well preserved, lest pure thoughts should be smirched with the mire of an unwholesome mental habit.
4. Storehouses. Memory has her treasuries, warehouses, granaries. Let us see that they are not crowded with rubbish, left in disorder, made fever nests by the corruption of any unhealthy contents. Nourishing truths and beautiful ideas should stock them.
5. Factories. In the heart we weave fine webs of fancy see that the pattern has the beauty of holiness; there, too, we forge great engines for future work see that they are constructed on safe and serviceable principles.
6. Halls of amusement. Let them be places of recreation, not of dissipation.
7. Shrines for worship. See that no idol takes the place of the true God, no hypocrisy does service for the incense of spiritual prayer and praise.
8. Graveyards of dead hopes and loves; keep them beautiful with flowers of tender memory. Are there also graves of dead sins? Plant weeping willows of penitence over them.” Pulpit Commentary; e-Sword edition

“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

The point of verses 25 – 27 is for the just to keep their eyes open so as not to end up on the path of darkness and wickedness.   See Deuteronomy 5:32.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Raised Up

I will extol You, O LORD; for You have lifted me up, and have not made my foes to rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried unto You, and You have healed me. O LORD, You have brought up my soul from the grave: You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit”  Psalm 30:1-3 (KJB)

David was a man; a King who knew where to go when he was troubled, oppressed, and in dire straights.  He went to God, the LORD of hosts.  He feels in this Psalm like he has been dead, or nearly so.  His life has been threatened in the past, and he is giving the LORD the praise and worship He deserves for delivering David.

In dedicating our homes, our families to the LORD we need to recognize from whence the LORD has brought us, and David did.  He was a shepherd boy who had faced a lion and a bear.  He was still that shepherd boy when he face Goliath the giant of the Philistines, and slew him with a stone and a sling.  David said that it was the LORD who delivered Him.

If we are faithful to the LORD we cannot hold our lives to be more dear to us than the LORD is.  Life is good, but it is not cheap.  We must not fear anything but the LORD our God, and do so through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ God’s holy Son.

The Lord Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and raised again can raise you up from whatever dilemma you face; and through your life to the end of your life give you eternal peace.

This song came to my mind as I was writing…  MY FAITH LOOKS UP TO THEE

My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lam of Calvary, Savior divine!

Now hear me while I pray, Take all my guilt away,

O let me from this day Be wholly Thine!

and the final verse of the song…

When ends life’s transient dream, When death’s cold, sullen stream Shall o’er me roll,

Blest Savior, then, in love Fear and distrust remove;

O bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!

May our hearts and lives be always remembering the grace, love, mercy, and will of God each day we live.  Give your life to Jesus Christ and truly live.

Consider the Work of God

Days of prosperity often cause us to be joyful.  Prosperity is not always dealing with gold, silver, precious jewels, fine homes and fine cars.  Prosperity can just as well mean, a place to live, protected from the elements; food on the table, clothes on your back, and a wonderful family who loves you; and realizing every day that God in heaven loves, and keeps you.  That is the best of prosperity.

Adversity – troubles, sorrows, pains, family troubles, health troubles, financial hardships, all of these come to us all at some point in life.  I want us to see what the wisest of men; and one the most prosperous (in material wealth) had to say about both prosperity and adversity…

“Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? 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 7:13-14 (KJV)

We out always see, to look at; to inspect the work of God.  In order to do so one must see the work of God.  Do you see the work of God?  First consider yourself as a work of God.  Look in the mirror.  That image you see is in the image of God.  Your body is made up of a very intricate system that works keeping these tents, moving, seeing, working, breathing, heart beating, legs moving, arms and  hands busy.  Consider.  No one can make straight what God has made crooked.  We must consider that what has been made crooked can be straightened by God Himself.

In these verses we can see that both prosperity and adversity have a place in God’s plan for humanity.  Both are a work of God.  They are opposite of one another, and so that we might not be able to know what lies ahead in our lives.  We plan, we can save money, but no one knows what is coming tomorrow.  Not even the wealthiest of us.  The wealthiest man or woman in the world could pass into eternity before the sun sets this evening.  Their wealth cannot prevent it.  The same is true with the poorest of men and women.

“Consider the work of God….”

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. John 6:29

The One whom God sent is Jesus Christ His Son, God the Son, and He died on the cross, was buried, and rose again for you and me that we might have fellowship with God, the Creator of all things.

Kings and Queens: Men and Women of Virtue

“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:1-9 (KJV)

This is the concluding post from Proverbs.  I pray they have been inspiring, instructional, and encouraging.  May we all continue to grow in grace, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of God, His Son, and His word.

Thoughts from Proverbs 31…

No one is for certain who Lemuel was. The name means “Belonging to God”, and could be another name for Solomon.

We often hear about the woman/wife of verses 10-31, but little about the virtuous king/man in verses 1-9.

According to Strongs Dictionary of the Hebrew language “Virtuous” means ‘a force’ or ‘valour’, ‘strength’. Probably referring to moral excellence and strength or power.

1. The king should be virtuous in his judgment/justice and other decisions. He is to stand for the weak and defenseless.

The word “strength” (v. 3) is the same as the word “virtuous” of v. 10 [chayil; khah’-yil]. Not controlled by unethical women, nor by power, neither by mind altering drink or drugs. Only a virtuous/strong man or king can make righteous judgments. (vv. 1-9)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12

2. The woman/wife of virtue. A force of moral integrity. Look at her value “far above rubies”. She has the “trust” of her husband; he knows she will not bankrupt their home and family – morally or financially (vv. 10-12).

She is a hard and diligent worker and wise shopper (vv. 13-15). She endeavors to increase her resources (vv. 16-19) She is thoughtful of others, and cares for her own (vv. 20-21).

The wife of virtue is an artist, designer, homebuilder, etc. (vv. 22-24).

“Strength” (v. 25) is a different [‘oz; oze] meaning “force, security, majesty, praise”. And honour are her clothing; her covering; her unashamed quality. This virtuous woman is honoredby her neighbors, her husband, her children.

The virtuous woman is more concerned with the way her life and family appears, than her personal beauty. A woman who has the adoration of her family, friends, and neighbors due to her strength in the Lord has much, very much, and is praised by others (vv. 26-31).

Walk with God. To walk with Him we must be in agreement with Him, trust Him, in the light and in the dark, and believe every word He has said, is saying, and will ever say.  That includes the words of Jesus Christ His Son. That is wisdom.

Wisdom, Praise, and Boasting

“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.
The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” Proverbs 27:1-10 (KJV)

Some thoughts on Proverbs 27:1-10…

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.” Unknown

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.

Hold On to Wisdom

In the study of Proverbs we must keep in mind that these proverbs are not promises.  They are rather a collection of sayings  which do happen in the general sense of things.

“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” Proverbs 4:1-13 (KJV)

Hold on to wisdom; like a family heirloom. Children are the fruit of marriage, and the responsibility of their teaching, their learning is that of the father and mother. It is, however the responsibility of the child to learn the teachings which they are taught. Hearing instruction; godly instruction; as lived by the parent is necessary for the child to see as well as hear.

Cramming Scripture into the child’s life; especially for correction; will make the child hate it rather than love Scripture and God.  When they see their mother and father reading and studying Scripture, praying, and living their lives like they teach them then it will have an affect on the child’s life as well.

When God is our Father, our Instructor/Teacher we know that His teaching is never in error. If we err from His teaching it is the child who errs not the Father. Remember Wisdom is personified in Proverbs, and is seen in the New Testament as Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God; God the Living Son.

Christmas Day 20

Wow!  Just 20 days until Christmas – with Day 1 being Christmas Day.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to see Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God, and God the Living Son; today; and want all my family, friends, neighbors, to desire to see Him as well.

For those of you who might just think that I need help with my mind.  I have a clear mind, and it has been best when I desire to see Jesus the most.  This is not a death wish; but a life hope, and promise of God.

“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.” Revelation 1:7 (KJV)

Christmas Day Fifty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want my family and friends to always be safe in the LORD, and to trust the LORD, and to never fear what mankind or one man or woman can do to them.

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 (KJV)

Christmas Day Sixty One

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always realize that children; no matter what their age; in the womb, after they are born, until they have gone; are a blessing, a heritage of the LORD, and that God has given us the children, and grandchildren to bless us.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)

Christmas Day 70

What do I want for Christmas today?

Those of us at the Cassville R-IV School District had a great work associate, and friend pass away suddenly yesterday.

I want for peace, comfort, encouragement, grace and mercy to permeate his family, that every need they have will be met in their loss; and want us all to pray for them in the days to come.

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Romans 12:15

Christmas Day Seventy and Five

What do I want for Christmas today?

To be faithful, passionate, and compassionate to tell others of what Jesus Christ has done for me, what He has done for you, and what He has done for the whole world.

“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, ‘Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.’ And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” Mark 5:19-20 (KJV)

Christmas Day Eighty and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

My wife and I have guests in our home today.  Our oldest grandson Jonathan, and his sister Caitlyn, and some of their friends came down to our house last night to spend the night celebrating their Birthdays which was a few days ago.  They had a party in Springfield last night, then came here to camp out in our backyard. Their mother [Charity]; our daughter; also brought a friend with her to help get all the girls here.

So what do I want for Christmas today?  I want Jonathan to keep growing in the Lord Jesus Christ, to meet a godly Christian girl – which I think he already has – and grows deeper in love with Jesus through the Word, and deeper in love with the one who will be his wife; to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love his neighbor as himself.

For Caitlyn; that she too continue to grow in her love for Jesus, and His word; to one day find the godly Christian young man of her dreams, grow more in love with Jesus, and her husband to be; and to love God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love her neighbor as herself…

…And for those who are here with them as well.

 

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Ninety and Seven

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 (KJV)

In recent days in the community in which I live two life long residents have passed away, and their families are mourning their losses.  The first was discovered by a neighbor  in his home; the other died in a tragic tractor and haybaler accident on a hillside.  The people in Jenkins and Barry County are strong and resilient people, and were strong at the funerals.

A friend of mine, and fellow School Bus driver passed away on Thursday after suffering a very short bout with what had been diagnosed as bone cancer in the beginning, then I do not know, after they changed that diagnosis. His funeral is tomorrow [June 13].

There is much mourning in our world over the deaths of family members and friends.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want those families to be comforted, encouraged, and blessed; and if those family members and friends do not know the Lord; I want you to know that Jesus loves you so much that He died for you.

I want us to mourn for our sins; to be grieved when we have offended God in our iniquities, and transgressions; and to seek His forgiveness.

 

Christmas Day Two Hundred and Ten

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my family, friends, neighbors, and U. S. of A. citizens to remember those who died for the freedoms that we have today; and to drive carefully as you travel back to your homes.

Have a blessed and safe Memorial Day, and remember everyday the One who died to free you from sin, and death; Jesus Christ.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galations 5:1

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to always trust in the LORD God through His Son Jesus Christ no matter what may come, and I want all my family, neighbors near and far to trust Him as well.

 

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Psalm 62:5-8 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Fifty and Eight

Everyday as Christmas.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to be able to live so that I can always be a help and benefit to others; my family, my neighbor, and any who might not even like me, and might even consider me their enemy. I do not consider anyone my enemy, except the one called Lucifer.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 (KJV)

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7

 

Day Two Hundred Seventy and Two

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my family, friends, neighbors, readers of this blog, people around the world to be free of crippling, hindering fear, and I want you to know that is only possible through the faith of Jesus Christ Son of the Living God, God the Living Son.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (KJV)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Nine

Everyday is Christmas – What do I want for Christmas?

I want to put my complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for the problems I personally face, for the problems of my family, and the problems of our Nation (the U. S. of A.); to realize that our trust must be in Him alone, not in politics or any political, deceptive so called leader.

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”  Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”  Psalm 118:9

Day Two Hundred Ninety and Seven

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my friends, family, neighbors all around the world to know that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; that He is the Son of the Living God, and God the Living Son.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NKJV)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Also see Colossians 1:16-19;  Isaiah 41:4; 44:6;  Revelation 1:17

Day Three Hundred Twenty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to want what is best for you and others; whether it be wealth, good health, family, peace, justice, love, grace, etc.; over what I want for myself.

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred Twenty and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my wife, children, grandchildren, and my other family members to be saved, secured, and protected daily by the mighty hands of God, and His Son Jesus Christ; and that we all might know Him intimately.

For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NKJV)

“But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Day Three Three Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to want what God wants and desires for my family, friends, neighbors, myself, and the rest of the world.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand: When I awake, I am still with You.” Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred Thirty and Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to desire what God desires for my family, friends, neighbors, the world and myself; to desire what God desires.

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3 (NKJV)

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4

Day Three Hundred Thirty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas?

I want GOD to show Himself strong in and through me that others may see what is going on in me is GOD.  In this I also desire that it be so of my family, friends, neighbors, my community, State, Nation, and the world.

Help me, O LORD my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy, That they may know that this is Your hand—That You, LORD, have done it!” Psalm 109:26-27 (NKJV)

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9a

Day Three hundred Forty Six

What do I want for Christmas?

I want family, friends, and neighbors to prosper and be in good health; even as they prosper in their spiritual lives.

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 2 John 1:2 (NKJV)

Day Three Hundred Forty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my family, friends and neighbors to be blessed, in peace, comfort and wealth; most of all to be blessed with the peace and presence of the Lord in their lives.

“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (NKJV)

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 361

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all my family, friends, neighbors, and enemies to be at peace with God, one another, and themselves in the New Year of 2016.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Our Need for Forgiveness, and to Forgive

The topic of forgiveness is an often neglected teaching; but much needed. It is also a matter of much discussion when it is brought up. Sadly, it can even generate heated discussions that lead to a need to forgive.

The matter of forgiveness is an easy subject to talk about, but sometimes hard to put into practice. Yet the Christian is not requested to forgive, but commanded to do so. We are told by Jesus that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15).

I must ask myself this question, If Jesus Christ can forgive me, then how can I not forgive others? I know that is a hard question, but it is mine; and I think an honest one. Peter the apostle even asked Jesus;

“Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)

If someone keeps on offending you, causing harm to you, your mind, your heart, your family, your home, your car, your land, etc. Just how many times do we forgive them?

If we are sinners who hated God, His Word, His Son, the cross, and everything holy, righteous and just; before we came to Jesus; and He forgave me/us; and He continues to forgive everytime we sin against HIm; then why should we not also forgive those who sin against us?

There is a recent show of forgiveness among a group of church people. After a young man has come into their church on a Wednesday evening, and set with them through a Bible study when they go into prayer he began shooting, and killing them; nine in number. Their word toward the man following the incident were words of forgiveness. God bless them.

The next time you are offended, or injured by someone; forgive them.

How can one forgive such atrocities as mentioned above? Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus forgave His tormentors, His killers, those who would be His enemies. He forgave me. I can forgive too.

The Redeemer Who Lives

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27 (KJV)

Job had been falsely charged by his friends. He also felt neglected, despised even by God; but Job still trusted the love, grace and mercy of God.

Are you beaten, battered, bruised, sick or diseased? Do you feel you have been forsaken by God, your family, your friends? Do you believe that no one cares? God does care. God does love you.

Even the righteous (those declared so by God Himself) suffer. Job is a great example of that; yet, Job’s faith went on trusting and believing in God.

Job believed that he was probably going to perish; was going to die; that his body would decay, and be eaten by the “skin worms”. Yet, he believed that his Redeemer lived, and that he would see Him stand upon the earth.

That Redeemer is none other than the One who died for the sins of mankind upon a cruel, old rugged cross, was buried, and arose bodily from the grave. He (Jesus Christ) will one day return to rule and reign as King of the earth from Jerusalem.

My Redeemer Lives….

…Thus Saith the LORD… 012214

“Up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, ‘There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.’  In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.”  Joshua 7:13-15

Who Are the Brethren of Jesus???

“While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him.  Then one said unto Him, ‘Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee.’  But He answered and said unto him that told him, ‘Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?’  And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, ‘Behold My mother and My brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.”  ~Jesus  (Matthew 12:46-50)

Do Not Be Found Out

Has anyone ever stopped to think about the foolishness of idolatry. That is the desire for things, the greed for wealth, the lust for power, and/or the opposite sex; and in some cases of this day the perversion of the same sex. That is, afterall, what idolatry is all about.

We live in an era not dissimilar from Jeremiah’s. The people were living in basic comfort, secure in their wealth, and easy lives. Though, ours is plagued somewhat with fear of terrorism we still go about doing whatever we please; paying the exhorbitant prices for gasoline, and everything going up due to that; yet we purchase, or at least those who can do. Power for more of the things desired.

Hear the word of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah:

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, saying to a stock, ‘Thou art my father;’ and to a stone, ‘Thou hast brought me forth:’ for they have turned their back unto Me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us.’ But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? Let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.”  Jeremiah 2:26-28 (KJV)

It seems quite clear that the people of Judah have been caught in the practice of idolatry, worshipping other gods, which are not gods at all, but more burdens for the people to carry. Have you ever noticed the junk that we in our society build up and keep in closets, garages, security vaults, magazine racks, and how valuless they really are?

In the prophet Jeremiah’s day they were here being accused of having wood idols, and giving it praise for being their father. Also of telling one made of stone that was their mother. In the worship of other gods, they turned their back on God, denying Him as their birthparent as a nation. By turning their back and not their faces we find a great hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy is that while everything is going good, life is easy and comfortable, they really have no care to remember God, His holy days, nor His Law or His Word. However, when they start hearing about an enemy, or having some other troubles they begin to cry out to the true God for help. God, the LORD, says to that, “Let them arise, If they can save you in the time of your trouble;” It is like He is saying to them you have plenty of gods you love and adore more than Me, “Let them help you”. The prophet continues by saying, “For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.” You would think that the more gods the better. Right? Wrong.

The one true God is sufficient to meet our every need. In fact there is no other god but the LORD God. The one who loves us enough to send His Son to die in our place.

We continue now to the next two verses:

“Wherefore will ye plead with Me? Ye all have transgressed against Me, saith the LORD. In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.”  Jeremiah 2:29-30 (KJV)

At times when people face catastrophe they tend to recognize that God does exist. When things ease off, and start getting back to normal it is back to the worship of things,getting those desires met, achieving those personal goals at the cost of life, limb, or friendships, or spouses and family. When this happens, some of it is genuine, and some is not. The one’s who are genuine will continue being faithful when the things start being good again. They will hear the voice of the LORD and will obey Him. They do not turn away.

These are the ones whom the LORD will bless. These are the ones whom the LORD has genuinely saved.

These “two faced” people are about as dependable as a flat tire, and no rim with it. The correction of the LORD does no good, accomplishes nothing, and they hate the prophets who tell them the truth for the saving of their souls.

Do not turn your back on God. Do not be a two faced individual who worships God on Sunday, then, through the rest of the week no one will ever know any difference from watching your life, hearing your dirty words, and dirty jokes.  Turn your face toward Jesus Christ, and you will be made just before holy GOD.  When you have given your life to the LORD through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ your life changes, for His glory and your good. You will love the Law, the History of His people, the Wisdom of the sages, and the prophets; both the Major and Minor prophets. You will love God’s Word.  You will desire to please the LORD.  It is not a burden but a pleasure to love the LORD, His Word and the life He gives us.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Like The Animals???

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Making of The Preacher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Day 65 – Who Is Like the LORD?

We hear many people speak of “Justice”, “Right” or “Rights”, and the world is filled with injustice, and unrighteousness; and none of us are completely innocent of either.  We love seeing the hungry fed, the poor and/or homeless given shelter and even finding prosperity in their paths of life.  Is it injustice that makes people poor; or unrighteousness that causes a family to go hungry or  without shelter?  My answer to that is NO!  Circumstances in life can have an affect on an individual’s misfortune; or that of a families homelessness and poverty.

One thing we can be certain of and that is that there is no injustice, or unrighteousness in or with our GOD, the Lord of creation.  My reading began in the Minor Prophet of Micah, and concluded with Habakkuk with Nahum in between.  My reading only consisted of 13 chapters today.  That is where those five extra days at the end will help make up the difference.

Micah is a prophet who calls for his listeners to “Hear”.  In verses 1:2; 2:1, 9; 6:1 the prophet Micah calls for the people to “Hear”.   He calls on the religious leaders to hear, the political leaders, and the people to “Hear”.  We need to hear what Micah has to say.  Micah’s name means, “Who is like the LORD?”

“The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.  For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.  And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.” Micah 1:1-4 (KJV)

By the first verse we can tell that Micah was a contemporary with Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos.  The LORD is a witness against all injustice and unrighteousness.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Life is not fair”, or “That’s just not fair” or some other “fair” statement.  NO! Life is not fair.  God is however Just and Righteous; and we can depend on and trust Him to do what is right, just and holy.  He calls on His people to live that way too.  The LORD is not pleased when He sees injustice and unrighteousness, especially in those who call themselves “children of God”.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  And many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:1-2

Micah is a prophet with a prophecy of promise.  A day is coming when nations will “flow” unto the “Mountain of the house of the LORD”.  “Flow” seems like a thing that a river would do within its banks.  It is a natural thing for a river to flow.  It is a natural thing for the people of God to flow to the place where God is, yet it is by the power of God that we are able to flow there.  Who is like the LORD?

We can see this question; though not stated as we read Nahum and Habakkuk.

In Nahum we have written,

“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.  He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.  The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.  Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.  The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in him.   But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.” Nahum 1:3-8 (KJV)

The prophecy of Nahum is written to Nineveh, that same city that God had sent the prophet Jonah to about 100 or so years previous to Nahum’s prophecy; and the city had repented, and God withheld judgment.  However, now judgment was coming because of their sinful brutality and wickedness;

“Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; the noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.  The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.  ‘Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; ‘and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.  And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.  And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?'” Nahum 3:1-7

Though Habakkuk asked the timeless question, “How can a holy God allow evil to continue?” he still comes to the conclusion like the others.  “Who is like the LORD?”  This prophecy is a debate, of sorts, between the prophet and the LORD.  Of course in a debate such as that there is only one winner of the debate; however the one who yields to the LORD’S wisdom is a winner too.

Habakkuk’s conclusion of the matter,

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

Habakkuk has reached the conclusion that all of God’s people will reach.  God is God.  There is no other.  I will trust in Him when there are no crops; when the blessings are all dried up; when the flocks and the herds are no more.  Who is like the LORD?   There is none like Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Turning Heart

What is going on in the world?  Or as one author has written, What in the World is Going On?

There are many people around the world living in fear of where world leaders are leading us; and maybe there should be some fear.  However, those who are in Christ can know that He is involved in the affairs of this world, and her leaders; and that ultimately His will is going to be done and evil will be judged and righteousness shall reign.

The writer of Proverbs has written,

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.”  Proverbs 21:1 (KJV)

There are a lot of things about this that the human mind cannot comprehend, because we are finite beings – meaning our thinking is limited to what we see, hear, taste, touch and smell; and that is twisted due to our evil hearts.  To believe that there is God who is intervening in our business, directing our steps, even our thoughts is indeed “thought provoking”.

There is evidence in Scripture of God turning kings hearts, and even using their evil toward accomplishing His will.  I read this morning in my daily reading of the Pharoah in Egypt who hardened his heart against Moses and the Word of the LORD, and God was using that hard heart to direct His will in the land of Egypt (Exodus 5 – 7).  Also in my studies of Isaiah I have seen where over 100 years before he was even born the prophet Isaiah names; by the Omniscience of God; the name of the king of Persia who would give the people of Israel the freedom to return to Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple; and his name was Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28-45:4).

The heart of every President of the United States of America is in the hands of the Lord, and He will direct it in the direction He has planned for the U.S. of A. and for the world and the rest of the  leaders too; including the leader of Iran; however you spell his name.

As a young man on the family farm we had an irrigation system.  It was used in the hot, dry Summer to keep the grass growing and green so the cows would keep producing milk.  With the power of the propane powered engine we moved water from the Creek through the pump, through the lines and into the turbine powered irrigation machine which pulled itself across the pasture blasting out a stream of water about 1 and 1 half  to two inches, and covering an area about two hundred feet in diameter.  We were directing the flow of the water to accomplish what we wanted to do.

We see this done every day in our homes.  We have water lines which comes from an underground supply of water, is pumped into a tank and then directed to your home.  You control it with a faucet inside your home or business.

Is it not amazing that God even directs the heart of kings in such a fashion to accomplish His purposes and His will for His own glory?  Find rest and peace in Christ today; knowing that He will be exalted, evil will one day be dealt with, and that God’s will is being done; even when we cannot see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, or hear it.

-Tim A. Blankenship