Giving From Poverty

“And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said,
‘Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.’” Luke 21:1-4 (KJB)

It seems that the wealthy; many of them; like to make much to do about their giving. Though any giving to aid those who are less fortunate, or are experiencing difficult financial times is generous. Being noticed for it, or seeking applause from the populace is not applauded by God.

Jesus, in the verses of Luke above, was sitting near by where the giving box was located, and He must have heard the jingling of the coins as they went into the metal receiving. Those who were more able to give wanted it to sound as though they were giving much, and Jesus noticed a poor widow who put in all that she had.

When it comes to giving who gives more the man with a million dollars who only gives a tenth of his wealth? or the one who lives from week to week on wages, whose take home pay maybe 400 dollars, and he/she tithes from that? I will let you answer that.

A few years ago there was two very well known billionaires who made the announcement, and quite publicly that they were going to give half of their wealth to aid the poor.  Now there is no doubt in my mind that that was a very noble act. Let us think about that for a moment.  At that time the younger one of the two had a net worth of over 50 billion dollars. Now let us think of that. If he was giving half of that to aid the poverty stricken, he still has a net worth of 25 billion. There is absolutely no sacrifice in the giving.

These people that were putting their money in the box were giving from their wealth; that is what Jesus said. The widow was giving all she had, and Jesus applauded this woman for doing so.

At this time of year many people get generous with giving. Giving gifts to family, friends, work associates, etc.  Organizations give food, clothing, and gifts because of the time of year it is.  That is wonderful. Why do we not make it a year round policy to give sacrificially to others in need? One month in a year. That is good.  Great giving would be doing it from January 1 through December 31.

Think of this. Genuine generous giving is when you give until it hurts; and you need to cut back on something for yourself  to give.

Jesus Christ gave us all He had. He gave His life, dying on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again. In Him and through His is life everlasting.

What Happened At Shiloh?

“In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,

‘Thus saith the LORD; ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent Me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. And thou shalt say unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’

So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.” Jeremiah 26:1-7 (KJB)

Shiloh is the place where the ark of the covenant was kept in the Tabernacle in the wilderness which Moses had made after the pattern of God’s in Heaven.  Shiloh was the place from which it was taken foolishly by the priest thinking it had special powers even when the hearts of the people had turned against hearing the word of the LORD.  It would do the reader good to read 1 Samuel 1 – 4 to get the background of what Jeremiah is saying.

When people will not hear the word of the LORD, and do what He says then you can be sure no amount of prayer, special offering, sacrifice will suffice to please God. He is pleased when we hear His word, and do it.

There are many places that are alive with activity in the name of the Lord, but full of ignorant, disobedient, sacrificing, giving people; separated from God, and do not even realize it. Their lives are empty and without meaning, because these places have a whole lot of fire, but not fire from God in Heaven. They will not hear and heed the word of the LORD.

Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name,…. The temple, as in Jer_7:11, for though it was called by his name, and his name was called upon in it, yet this could not secure it from desolation; for so the name of the Lord was set in the tabernacle at Shiloh, and yet he forsook it through the wickedness of the people:

wherein ye trust; they trusted in the sacrifices there offered up, and the service there performed; in the holiness of the place, and because it was the residence of the divine Majesty; wherefore they thought this would be a protection and defence of them; and this was trusting in lying words, as in Jer_7:4,

and unto the place which I gave unto you and your fathers; meaning either Jerusalem; and so the Syriac version renders it, “and to the city”; or the whole land of Judea, as in Jer_7:7,

as I have done to Shiloh; See Gill on Jer_7:12.”  From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Jeremiah 26:6

O hear the word of the LORD. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life.  That is a starting place.

Destruction happened at Shiloh.  Life eternal happens at the cross of Jesus Christ. Hear the word of the LORD.

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 Superior Goodness of God

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him.”
  Matthew 7:7-11 (KJB)

Some will note that I changed the question mark to a period.  Why?  I believe it to be a statement from Jesus and not a question, though I know His questions often make very loud statements.  I noticed too that the New King James, as do other translations use an exclamation mark; which might be even better.

My thoughts today are on verse 11 solely.  No father of earth would be so mean, ugly, and hateful as to give their child a serpent rather than a fish, or if they were hungry give them a stone rather than bread.  I am speaking of Dad’s who care for their children; not the deserters, who care for no one but themselves.

Even though we are evil, we are still kind to our children, and sometimes to others.  The goodness we see of people around us doing “good things” should be a reminder to us of the superior goodness of our heavenly Father.

He loves us even when we are unlovely, unloving, and downright hateful (John 3:16).  He loved us so much that even though we were His enemies He sent His Son to die for us (Romans 5:8).

O my; how the goodness of God is so far superior than any goodness we have.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him! — Bad as our fallen nature is, the father in us is not extinguished. What a heart, then, must the Father of all fathers have towards His pleading children! In the corresponding passage in Luke (see on Luk_11:13), instead of “good things,” our Lord asks whether He will not much more give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. At this early stage of His ministry, and before such an audience, He seems to avoid such sharp doctrinal teaching as was more accordant with His plan at the riper stage indicated in Luke, and in addressing His own disciples exclusively.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

Will you call on the name of Jesus today?  Will trust the One who is truly the one who describes Goodness?

Instruction for Pastors

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.  And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.  I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:27-35

The Cost of Wealth

To many who have great wealth it is their life.  The wealthy without God, are always grasping for more.

“And, behold, one came and said unto Him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And He said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He saith unto Him, ‘Which?’ Jesus said, ‘Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ The young man saith unto Him, ‘All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me.’
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto His disciples, ‘Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.’ When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:16-26  (KJB)

What was the cost to this young rich man?  It cost him his soul and eternity.

The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy…

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10

The verse from 1 Timothy is not saying that money is evil, but rather the “love of money”.  Money over God.  Wealth over peace with God.  Prosperity rather than love for God.

What will your wealth cost you?

The Treasure of Giving

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And He called His disciples, and saith unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, all her living.’” Mark 12:41-44  (KJB)

Jesus was watching people give into the container where the offering for the temple was received.  Many of the wealthier ones gave out of their abundance; this poor widow gave all that she had.

Who gave the most?  The poor widow did.

Several years ago a couple of billionaires of the U. S. of A. announced that they were going to give half of their wealth to aid the poor.  That was noble thing to do.  Both of their worth was around or over 50 billion dollars apiece. If they were giving half of that would they not still have 25 billion.  Such sacrifice.  Smile.

The widow gave all she had.  It is said, that our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and so it is.  One of our greatest treasures is giving.  Giving from a willing heart.  Giving; not from what we do not have, but from what we have; with that willing heart.  That in itself is a treasure.

Our Lord Himself gave His best, His all to redeem us from our sins. He died on the cross.

Christian Disciplines

Kingdom Character/Disciplines

Matthew 6:1-18

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE WITH CAUTION (vv. 1-4).

* Jesus’s first words in the first verse is “Take heed”, so there is caution needed in giving.
* Caution means giving without calling attention to your act.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO PRAYING WISELY (vv. 5-13).

* The hypocrites, to whom Jesus refers, probably spent no time praying in private, unless it was to build their praying vocabulary, and prowess in expressing the words they would pray in public.
* How the Kingdom Christian should pray –

+ When you pray Praise and Glorify the Father – Recognize Him for who He is; Holy, Righteous, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Sovereign, LORD of hosts, etc…;
+ For His will in your life as though you were in Heaven;
+ When you pray be sure that it is His will that you request most earnestly;
+ Request from Him what you need for the day – not wants and desires – your needs for the day;
+ Asks for forgiveness of your sins and transgressions against God and those you may have committed against your fellow man;
+ Asks for the power of the Word of God in your life to be delivered from evil;
+ As you are ending the time with the Lord end with recognition of His sovereignty, power, His kingdom, recognizing that His Kingdom is forever.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FORGIVING THOSE WHO ARE INDEBTED TO US (vv. 14-15).

* The Christian of all people should know how to forgive – We have been forgiven much.
* Lack of forgiveness can hinder our prayers, and rob us of peace.
* All Christians have been forgiven by God’s grace, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

THE CHRISTIAN WILL GIVE ATTENTION TO FASTING WITH JOY (vv. 16-18).

* Just as in their praying, so also in their times of fasting they begged the attention of men.

* Fasting is right and good when it is done with the right motive.

+ To seek God’s will in times of uncertainty.

+ To seek God for personal renewing, revival, and church renewal and revival; National renewal and revival.

+ To seek God for strength for going through a difficult time.

* Fasting is a means of disciplining the appetites of the body.

* Overcoming hypocrisy in fasting -+ Be honest with God in your secret life;

+ Fast seeking God with all your heart;

+ Pray from your heart, not form;

+ Fast secretly;
+ Please God alone.

* The purpose of fasting and prayer is to glorify the Lord, and then it matters not whether you get what you asked for yourself.

For the Kingdom Christian Giving, Praying and Fasting is so that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus our Lord and Savior. All world religions have these as religious disciplines for the gaining of their salvation, or earning favor with their deity; whoever that may be. These become the Character of the true Believer of Christ – the true Christian.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Communicating Perfection

Communicating Perfection

Matthew 5:33-48

We start off with an “Ye have heard…” statement. It is the fourth of five if you count the “It has been said” of verse 31. This shows us Jesus’s familiarity with Scripture and the Law. It also shows that He is familiar with the general interpretation of those Laws.

In looking at the SERMON ON THE MOUNT we must realize that for the time being these principles are our goal. I fall so short of these principles of His Kingdom. The only way they are lived is when we are in complete obedience to the leading of the Spirit within us. Let me say here that our perfection/completion is only by God’s own decree – “You are Justified. All your sins are gone. Jesus has paid your debt”. This is still our goal for now.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN LIVING HONESTLY, WITH HIGH HONOR AND INTEGRITY IS WITH JESUS CHRIST (vv. 33-37).

* When your heart is right with God your first responsibility of honesty is with Him.

+ He already knows your heart and thoughts why would you lie to Him.

+ Why lie to others, if indeed, you see the image of God in them, and we should.

* When making a vow, or promise, let your Yes, Be Yes; and your No, be No!

+ If you must swear on a “Stack of Grandma’s Bibles”, then, your word is probably as good as the ocean front property in Arizona.

THE PLACE TO BEGIN SEEKING THE GOOD OF OTHERS IS BY LOOKING AT THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST AND BE LIKE HIM (vv. 38-42).

* Jesus even turns this toward those who would strike you.

+ Is it a wimpy thing for a man to “turn the other cheek”?

+ Is it the right and courageous thing to “turn the other cheek”?

* Giving others what belongs to you shows that you care for them more than we care for things.

+ Giving them our time – if you are “compel(led) to go a mile, go with him twain”.

+ Giving possessions – if he “take away you coat, let him have your cloke also” (vv. 40, 42).

“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3 (KJV).

LIVING WITHOUT THE ATTITUDE OF RETALIATION IS A WORK OF JESUS CHRIST IN OUR HEARTS (vv.43-47).

* I recall nowhere in Scriptures which tell us to “Hate your enemies”.

+ Most error in such things comes from misinterpretations and evil hearts.

+ Here, Jesus quickly puts that thought out in the cold

* The law does teach, “Eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:23-25).

+ Seeking justice and seeking revenge are two different thoughts.

+ You can still love the person when justice is being done, but revenge almost requires hatred.

* When we love those who love us, we are doing only what others will do.

+ When we love those who have stricken us, who have lied about us, who have harmed us, then, people will see the love of Jesus Christ, and the difference He has made in our lives.

+ We need to be strengthened by the Spirit of God each day to walk with Christ and be like Him, in loving and forgiving those who have despised us, even hated us.

THE PERFECTION OF GOD IS THE COMPLETENESS WE HAVE SOLELY IN HIM (v. 48).

* This is similar to God’s command to Israel:

+ “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45, and 1 Peter 1:15-16.

* Perfection is the work of God taking us and making us more into the likeness of His Son.

+ It is the goal of every follower of Jesus to one day be made like Him for we have the promise;

+ “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Give Your Child Away

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from Ruth 2 – 1 Samuel 1…

“And she said, ‘Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of Him: therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.’ And he worshipped the LORD there.” 1 Samuel 1:26-28  (KJB)

Give your child away?  Really!  Is this for real?  It is real, but not in the sense of giving them to someone who is going to mistreat them, and not love them, or to leave them without instruction for life.

Not too many mothers would give the child they had plead with the LORD for back to Him as Hannah did. Her husband was Elimelech.  Of course, this is…

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Being Reminded of Purpose

“Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” Haggai 1:3-6 (KJV)

The people had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon for the distinct purpose of rebuilding the temple (Ezra 1:1-5).  When we look into the prophecy of Haggai we read that they had become more concerned with building comfortable homes for themselves, more than the house of the LORD.

Now the prophet was not finding fault with them for building their homes, but they were neglecting the temple and its rebuilding.  That was the issue.  They were taking their goods and applying it to their own livelihood rather than to the work of the Lord.

In looking at this prophecy of Haggai there is a word for the people of God in 2017.  What may that be?  We have forgotten our purpose, our calling, and from whence we have been blessed.  I stand guilty.  We live in a nation that spends billions of dollars in the game of golf.  Many more millions are spent on movies; either attending their showing at the theater or buying them for home use.  Understand, I do not condemn these things, lest I condemn myself; but I must ask the question:  Where does God come into these actions?  How much do we give to Him for things that bring honor and glory to His name?

If we are spending more on our entertainment and pleasure and comfort than we return to the Lord, then we have forgotten our purpose.  I am speaking to those who call themselves “Christian”.  We are responsible to God for what we have left over after we give to Him; if we are returning anything to Him what He has blessed us with.

Let us consider our ways.  Let us be faithful with the blessings God has given us.  Give to your local place of worship, your Church, and watch what God can do.  Of course, the first thing you need to give is yourself to attending your local Church.  Be faithful, and remember your purpose is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christmas Day Nineteen

What do I want for Christmas today?

Since this is the time of giving gifts, I always want to remember the One who gave the greatest gift; the gift of His Son, to die on the cross for the sins of the world, was buried, and bodily arose from the grave; and that He continues to give us Himself day after day, moment after moment.

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (KJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day 180

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1 (KJV)  Also see verses 2-4

Alms are acts of giving, or righteous giving, showing mercy, or charitable acts.  When we know certain individuals who give from their wealth, and some very notable people donate millions of dollars, and maybe billions of dollars to charitable causes, and lets the world know about it; and we can applaud them for their giving let us remember the words of Jesus above.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to give my best for the Master; not to be seen by my neighbor, the government, or the so called “Elite” of society; but I want to give charitably because it is the good and right thing, and to do so before the Lord alone; without doing it for any reward, I want God’s reward not man’s.

Giving Unto the LORD

“Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.” Psalm 29:1 (KJV)

Today I will let only C. H. Spurgeon from THE TREASURY OF DAVID speak on this verse…

“Give,” i.e., ascribe. Neither men nor angels can confer anything upon Jehovah, but they should recognise his glory and might, and ascribe it to him in their songs and in their hearts. “Unto the Lord,” and unto him alone, must honour be given. Natural causes, as men call them, are God in action, and we must not ascribe power to them, but to the infinite Invisible who is the true source of all. “O ye mighty.” Ye great ones of earth and of heaven, kings and angels, join in rendering worship to the blessed and only Potentate; ye lords among men need thus to be reminded, for ye often fail where humbler men are ardent; but fail no longer, bow your heads at once, and loyally do homage to the King of kings. How frequently do grandees and potentates think it beneath them to fear the Lord; but, when they have been led to extol Jehovah, their piety has been the greatest jewel in their crowns. “Give unto the Lord glory and strength,” both of which men are too apt to claim for themselves, although they are the exclusive prerogatives of the self-existent God. Let crowns and swords acknowledge their dependence upon God. Not to your arms, O kings, give ye the glory, nor look for strength to your host of warriors, for all your pomp is but as a fading flower, and your might is as a shadow which declineth. When shall the day arrive when kings and princes shall count it their delight to glorify their God? “All worship be to God only,” let this be emblazoned on every coat of arms.

Jesus On the Matter of Judging

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  ~Jesus  (Luke 6:37-38)

Others in the Kingdom

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:’ but I say unto you, ‘That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 5:38-42)

Words for Christian Living – Giving

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, ‘He hath dispersed abroad; He hath given to the poor: His righteousness remaineth for ever.’ Now He that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.”  2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (KJV)

Paul the apostle was sending a delegation to Corinth to pick up a promised donation to the Jerusalem Christians.  He sent this message to thank them for their generosity; and to encourage them in their giving.

For the Christian giving is not a dread; it is a blessing.  We are giving back to God recognizing our Blessers blessings.  Every Christian is a giver.  Every Christian should enjoy giving.

There are many places crying out for help, for money.  Where should the Christian give.  The main place should be to and through your local congregation.  “God loves a cheerful giver.”

The Rich in This World

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19 (KJV)

According to tax records and stats the rich of the United States of America are only about 2 percent of the population.  I am not sure what income level that richness begins.  Is it one half million per year, a million, or what is the beginning point of richness?

I have never had wealth, as far as the wealth of the world goes, so I do not have a clue as to the feelings of responsibility with that wealth.  I know I do sometimes become angry when I hear of the profits of big corporations, the big million dollar bonuses of the CEO’s, COO’s, etc. and then the astronomical prices people must pay for their product.

When I hear of a Christian brother of sister becoming better off it is a great joy; however, it is an even greater joy to know that they are following the Lord in the management of their new found wealth.

The rich of the world; be they Christian or not need to realize where their wealth came from.  Most definitely some people earn what they have made, and have worked very hard for what they have, and they should be able to enjoy  their blessings; yet, they must realize that the strength they had, the health they have enjoyed comes from God, and He is the One who has truly blessed them.

All that we have is God’s.  We are only stewards of what God has given us.  We all need to realize that the Creator is really the giver, the provider of all good things; and He has blessed us to share with those who are less fortunate.

The one foundation the rich must have, is the same foundation that the poor must have; and that foundation is the Rock, Jesus Christ.

Just one finishing note.  God is not for a redistribution of wealth, making all equal financially.  You could give every man, and woman on earth a million dollars; within a month, maybe less, some would have nothing left, some would have much more; and them it would be back to the way it was before.

The greatest wealth and riches one can have is in knowing where you are going.  That can only be had by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His bodily resurrection.

-T.A.

B F & M – Stewardship

Many people, and even some Baptists flinch at the word “Stewardship”.  A pastor stands behind the pulpit, and proclaims his subject as “Stewardship”, and the first thing that goes through many minds is, “Here comes a sermon on giving our money”.

Stewardship involves much more than money.  It entails the care of what has been given us for use.  I have lived in a rented house.  I am a steward of this house.  We now live in a house of our own [and the mortgage companies], along with a few acres of land.  It is the place God has provided my wife and I to live.  We have a 2000 and 2001 model Mercury Grand Marquis automobiles.  They too, were given us by God, to care for and maintain, and to keep in as good of care as we possibly can.  We are stewards of these things.

We are also all stewards of this planet called earth which we live on.  We are to give of our tithes and offerings.  Our Statement of Faith does not mention “Titheing” per se, but rather, “…binding stewardship in their possessions”.  We should count titheing as a privilege.  One hundred percent of our income is God’s, and all we are asked to return to acknowledge God’s ownership is 10% of it.  Gifts and offerings come above this.

Here is our Statement of Faith on the matter of Stewardship:

“XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.”

The tithe shows our recognition of God’s ownership.  There are many who want to tell us that the tithe is an Old Testament principle.  Jesus has taught it in the New.  Jesus tells us:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  Matthew 23:23 (KJV).

If you noticed He commends the tithe, but is condemning them for not practicing other matters of the law.  If Christians, and Baptists in particular would tithe to their local congregation, there is no church in the USA which would be hurting financially with the wise use of their resources, and missions and evangelism would be supported more effectively as well.

Be careful to take good care of the resources God has blessed you with.  Practice judgment, mercy, and faith, and take care of what God has blessed you with materially; and recognize God’s ownership of your income.

-T.A.

My Observations 012911

Today’s Bible Reading is for Exodus 35 – 37.  I pray that you are being blessed in your reading of Scripture.

In today’s reading you will read much concerning the calling, giving, preparations and getting reading to build the tabernacle in the wilderness.  The tabernacle was God’s way of demonstrating His presence among the tribes people of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness for those; what ended up being many years.

The people gave very generously to the cause of the tabernacle.  There is hardly any way to put a dollar value on the tabernacle, except to say it was more precious than any artifact we could find today.  You might say it was priceless above anything else that is called priceless.

The offerings that were given were gold, silver, brass, special skins of goats, fine linen, acacia wood.  In chapter 36 we are told that the people gave over and above all that was needed and then asked to stop giving:

“…And they spake unto Moses, saying, ‘The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make.’  And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, ‘Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.’ So the people were restrained from bringing.  For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.”  Exodus 36:5-7 (KJV)

The one of the best things to observe in this reading today is that the givers were willing hearted.  They desired to give; and give they did; until they were asked to stop giving.

No one is asked to give without a willing heart.  God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

No one is building a tabernacle today, but when you attend your local church tomorrow be sure you give generously in support of your church, its ministry and missions.

God loves you and is with you in the person of His Son Jesus Christ who loved you so much He gave us the willing hearted gift of His own life on the cross, was buried and rose again.  He eternally lives making intercession for us who have called on His name.

Now read Exodus 35 – 37.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Whatsoever Thou Hast Given Me…

We are already at Memorial Day of 2010, and there are many things which can concern and worry us.  What is dear to you?  What do you cherish more than anything else?  Is it health, family, your children, your grandchildren, your spouse, your career?  There was something dear and cherished by Jesus, and He shared them with those He knew and loved.

“Now they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee.  For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they  have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me”  John 17:7 (KJV).

If you look at the first sentence of these two, you must ask the question “What has the Father given the Son?  That question is quickly answered by the following statement.  God’s Word is a very precious item to the Lord.  Jesus lived to glorify the Father/God by living according to His Word, preaching it, and giving it to those who followed Him.

Giving the Word of God to others is still a priority of God’s people.  It must be given.  We must ask ourselves the begging question, “Have I received the Words the Father gave the Son?”  The disciples did, and it was  His disciples for whom He prayed, “They have received them”.  It is because they had “Received them” that they were able to know, “Surely I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me”.  If you are a follower of Jesus Christ; you are His disciple, and this prayer is for you too.

When you want to know the Personal Truth personally you will hear, and receive His Word.  It will be precious to you.  Jesus Christ, the Living Word; will especially be precious to you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Withered Hand

The Withered Hand

“And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.” Matthew 12:9-14 (KJV).

Jesus went to their synagogue. Notice “their synagogue“. There may be no signigicance to that phrase, but it struck with me that Jesus was not associated with it. It could only be that it was the synagogue of those in the area. Yet, shouldn’t He have His part in the synagogue of His own people (“He came unto His own…”)? At any rate it somewhat reminds me of the Letter to the Church of Laodicea, and Him standing outside the door knocking on the door of His Church.

John Calvin writing on verse nine says,

“We see also, that it is usual with hypocrites to pursue what is nothing more than a shadow of the righteousness of the Law, and as the common saying is, to stickle more about the form than about the substance. First, then, let us learn from this passage to keep our minds pure, and free from every wicked disposition, when we are about to form a decision on any question; for if hatred, or pride, or any thing of that description, reign within us, we will not only do injury to men, but will insult God Himself, and turn light into darkness. No man, who is free from malice, would have refused to acknowledge that it was a Divine work, which those good teachers do not scruple to condemn. Whence comes such fury, but because all their senses are affected by a wicked hatred of Christ, so that they are blind amidst the full brightness of the sun? We learn also, that we ought to beware lest, by attaching undue importance to cermonial observances, we allow other things to be neglected, which are of far higher value in the sight of God, and which Christ in another passage calls the more important matters of the Law, (Matth.xxiii.23.)” CALVIN’S COMMENTARIES, Volume XVI, pp. 52 & 53.

The man with the “withered hand” was in the right place. The synagogue should have been a place for healing, or seeking healing at least. This “withered hand” could have been a hand that had been greatly injured in an accident at some time. It could have been a birth defect. It could have been the result of arthritis pulling the ligaments of the hand tightly forming a closed, un-opening hand. It could have even been the man’s right hand, the hand most common for use.

Jesus is still addressing the sabbath, and the teachings of the religious leaders. “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?” With this question of Jesus it seems that all is quiet from the rabble. I would like to know one thing; Something to ask those who get hung up on observing certain days, and making the day more important than people. Is it ever wrong to do the right thing? To me, the obvious answer for that question is a very profound NO! Some have did what they considered the right thing, at the wrong time, and lost because of it. However, if it was not the right time it was the wrong thing to do. When I say that I am thinking of an incident in the Scriptures where they were moving the Ark of the Covenant, with the wrong method, and one man – Uzzah – thought it right to protect the Ark from falling to the ground, reached out and touched it, and God took his life (2 Samuel 6:1-11). If it is not done in the right time, in the right method, it cannot be the right thing. The right time for David to move the Ark would have been after he had read the writings of Moses, learned how it was to be moved, then proceeded to move it with the right method; on the shoulders of the priests, and not on an oxcart.

When you know the Law of God and do not recognize the Law in Person, then, you act out of hatred when you see Him doing the God things; and you condemn the One who deserves no condemnation. Their hands have been withered, are withered by callous hearts, and hands that will not labor for the King.

The hand is a powerfully important part of a man or a woman. It is with the hand a man can work, and make a living. Whether it is as a carpenter, bricklayer, stonemason, farmer, field laborer, factory laborer, the hands are a vital part of getting work accomplished. A withered, drawn hand could not get much done. He was in the synagogue on the sabbath. He was in worship. He was in prayer. It was at the synagogue where he met the Master/King of all kings. Think of this: The hand that cannot open cannot receive. The hand that cannot open cannot give. The hand of God is always open to receive the prayers and praises of those who give that to Him. His hands are always open to give to all who will receive Him. Too many times the hands of men are clenched tight in defiance toward God, asking nothing from Him; and giving nothing to Him. Are our hands clenched by disease of selfishness, sin, greed, and hard heartedness? There is healing in the place of Christ. He is waiting there, where you are right now.

-by Tim A. Blankenship