Holy Mountain

“So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” Joel 3:17 (KJB)

You will need to read the verses previous to verse 17, and also the verses following, to grasp the message clearly.  These are not prophetic of the Church the Body of Jesus Christ, but of Judah/Israel, and the city of Jerusalem. Read Zechariah 14.

May I have your attention? There are judgments coming on this earth to judge the sins of men and women who have turned their backs on God, His holiness, and His righteousness.  He is God.  There is no other.

The only place of repentance is at the cross of Jesus Christ where He bled and died for our sins; He was buried and carried away all our sins; then He rose from the dead – the grave – and He forever lives seated at the right hand of the Father.

One day He will return to this earth, and put an end to evil forever. I pray you will realize the evil of your own heart, mind, and life and repent, calling on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation. Do it today before it is too late.

All will know that the LORD is God. Many will realize it too late.

I Will Accept You

“I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up Mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have wrought with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O ye house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 20:41-44 (KJB)

“I will accept you” says the LORD. He will not accept them because of their holiness, righteousnesses, or their sacrifices. He accepts them because of His good, Holy, and Righteous Name.

Keep in mind, if you will, the one’s to whom God is speaking through the prophet are the people of Israel in captivity in Babylon. They are being promised that they will one day return to their Promised Land.  Most of these who are hearing would not. Ezekiel himself would not see his homeland again.  The nation would return. They did return.

The Lord GOD says to you today, “I will accept you, but not because of your sacrifices, not because of your holiness, righteousness; but for My own Name’s sake.”  His Name is the Name that is above every name (Philippians 2:10-11).

I am not accepted by God because of anything good in me, but because of the gift of Jesus Christ – His death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection.  He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:19; 2:9).

The Lord accepts all who will come to Him through Jesus Christ. Call on His Name.

Pray That the Word May Run

 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all have not faith.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (KJV)

When I think about the running of the word, I think of the runners in Old Testament days running to tell the king the outcome of a battle (2 Samuel 18:24-27).

Paul is speaking of the word of the Lord, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Prayer for the word to be spread with haste, with speed, and certainly we need that in 2019.

If any of you are of the type who like to see good in everyone; we need to always keep in mind that there are those who are not in the faith of  our Lord Jesus, and some of these try and twist the word of God to suit their own ends and means.

Christian all we have to stand on is Christ our Rock; and we do that through faith in Him and all that He has said. His word is His way, His law, His commandments, His statutes, His testimonies, His judgments, His  holiness, and His righteousness.

Let us stand upon that Rock or we will be crushed by Him (Matthew 21:44).  Pray for the speed of the work of the word of the Lord.

Christians in an Immoral Culture

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12  (KJB)

Many of the Christians in Corinth seems to have been indifferent to the culture in which they lived.  Sexual immorality was rampant in the city, and Christians were participating in the sin as well becoming more and more bound by their sinful actions; and thinking nothing of it.

It does the Christian of 2019 and every age to read the words of Paul in this chapter concerning these matters.

As Christians we are to live a life that honors, edifies, and glorifies the Holy and Righteous God who has purchased us through the blood of Jesus His Son.  That is done through the Holy Spirit and the word of God; applying His teachings and commandments to our lives.  We are not part of the evil world culture.

To yield to the temptation of the world is to be brought under the power of sin.  There is gross sexual immorality in the Christian community.  Eagerly participating in sexual intercourse before marriage; some after marriage who have no problem with sleeping with as many women or men as they can find.  God is not pleased with this. He is not honored, He is not glorified; and neither is the Christian living such a licentious life a faithful witness for the Holiness of God.

Let me  leave you this morning with the commentary of the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary:

“1Co_6:12-20. Refutation of the antinomian defense of fornication as if it was lawful because meats are so.
All things are lawful unto me — These, which were Paul’s own words on a former occasion (to the Corinthians, compare 1Co_10:23, and Gal_5:23), were made a pretext for excusing the eating of meats offered to idols, and so of what was generally connected with idolatry (Act_15:29), “fornication” (perhaps in the letter of the Corinthians to Paul, 1Co_7:1). Paul’s remark had referred only to things indifferent: but they wished to treat fornication as such, on the ground that the existence of bodily appetites proved the lawfulness of their gratification.
me — Paul giving himself as a sample of Christians in general.
but I — whatever others do, I will not, etc.
lawful … brought under the power — The Greek words are from the same root, whence there is a play on the words: All things are in my power, but I will not be brought under the power of any of them (the “all things”). He who commits “fornication,” steps aside from his own legitimate power or liberty, and is “brought under the power” of an harlot (1Co_6:15; compare 1Co_7:4). The “power” ought to be in the hands of the believer, not in the things which he uses [Bengel]; else his liberty is forfeited; he ceases to be his own master (Joh_8:34-36; Gal_5:13; 1Pe_2:16; 2Pe_2:19). Unlawful things ruin thousands; “lawful” things (unlawfully used), ten thousands.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Be sure to read the whole chapter six. Let those of us who name the name of Christ Jesus live the name as well.

Professors of Wisdom

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:22-23  (KJB)

Who are these Professors of Wisdom?  They are the one’s who had the knowledge of God; that He is the Creator of all things, the seen and the unseen, the man and the woman; yet have chosen to reject Him (v. 21).

Who are these Professors of Wisdom?  They are numerous in today’s world.  they are the one’s who say that their form of “Science” is the truth, when science only means “to know”.  We can only know from the evidence before us; that which God has given us.

Who are these Professors of Wisdom?  It is those who choose to make God in their own image, and deny what the Scripture says of Him.  When we deny the holiness, righteousness, and wrath of God and only see Him as a God of love, mercy, and grace we make Him into the God we want Him to be.  This is not according to Scripture.

We take God in the entirety of what Scripture says of His character.  We see God as holy, righteous, just, and judging sin; He is loving, merciful, and full of grace.  By the way, I have not exhausted the words for His character.  Search the Scriptures and you will see them.

God in His great mercy, love, and grace gave us the gift of His Son Jesus.  Why?  Because we were ones in that state of heart and mind.  Jesus Christ took upon Himself all the sins of the world, and died a cruel, tortured death; He was buried, and He rose again.  He is our only hope.

Believe Him.

Shall I Crucify Your King?

“And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, ‘Behold your King!’  But they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.'” John 19:14-15  (KJB)

In this scene Jesus is being tried for accused sins and transgressions; not actual charges, but false charges brought about by those who hated God, His word, and His Son.

Jesus is the King of the Jews.  It was those who should have known the Scripture best which denied Him, were jealous of His successes, His power, and His followers.  One of the chief priest even said that “One must die for our nation” (John 11:49-51).

Here stood the Man, the God-Man whose character, power, miracles, grace, mercy, holiness, and justness was clearly displayed by His life.  He lived solely to do the business of His Father (Luke 2:49), from the early age of 12 years.  He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, cleansed lepers, raised the dead.  Hey, He defied the elements by walking on water, speaking to storms and they ceased.  He cast out demons.

How could these religious “Leaders” be so blind?  Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?”.  Their sad, and hateful words say it all about their dark hearts… “We have no king but Caesar?”

When citizens of a nation which is enslaved by another nation chooses the king of the occupying nation over their own king; especially like these do they are denying God.  These Jewish leaders should have been looking for the coming of their Messiah; maybe they were, but were not expecting this Jesus; this suffering Servant of God; willing to die for the sins of the world.

For the Christian of 2019 are you aware of; are you alert to the words of your King?  Jesus is your King.  He has called us unto Himself, turning from sin to His righteousness, to live in holiness.  Are we saying the same thing those religious leaders of His day said when we choose to go our own way, do our own thing?  Are we not saying, “I have no king but Caesar/myself?”

Between the Rooftop and the Desert…

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”  Proverbs 21:9
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19  (KJB)

Between the Rooftop and the Desert – Proverbs 21:9-19

Verses 9, 19 –  In the days of ancient Israel rooftops were flat, and used quite often for relaxing in the evening, or early morning.  The husband or wife could go to the rooftop, without leaving home, to get away from the other.
The desert or “wilderness” was not home.  This is leaving the house entirely.

Verse 10 –  Between home and the wilderness are many temptations.  The wicked desire evil, and one of those evils is no love for their neighbor.

Verse 11 –  There is also much learning.  The “simple” (Naive, foolish, open minded) learn by seeing the “scorner” (One who mocks God and religion) punished for their evil mouth and behavior.  The wise seek every opportunity to learn of God, holiness, righteousness, salvation- through the writings of others and reading them and applying them to their own lives.

Verse 12 –  “The righteous maketh the house of the wicked to prosper.”  Gersom from John Gill Commentary  e-Sword.  A good example is the house of Potipher with Joseph (Genesis 39:1-7).  God has blessed the United States of America because of the Righteous.  In the end the wicked will be overthrown.  Not by the United States, but by the breath of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes again.

Taking out the italicized words consider this for verse 12…

“The righteous wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for wickedness.” v.12

Verse 13 –  A stern warning about turning away from the cries of the poor.  To willfully neglect to hear and help the poor when it is in the power of our hand to do it could bring the same judgment on ourselves.  Luke 16:10-31

Verse 14 –  See Proverbs 17:8; 18:16.  “The Bible often reports facts without approving them. Thus it observes that an angry man will quiet down if the offender slips him a gift, and a man who is in a rage is appeased by a bribe tucked in his pocket.”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary

Verse 15 –  People who are just rejoice when Judgment or justice is done.  There is ruin or destruction to those who work iniquity.  It is proper to rejoice in righteous judgment.  It is iniquity to rejoice when evil is done.

Verse 16 – 18 –  The wandering individual, the one who goes astray from the paths of God and understanding find themselves with the dead.  When pleasure is all that one seeks they will not be rich.
For verse 18 consider Haman’s taking the place of Mordecai (Esther 7).

Verse 19 –  Between the Rooftop and the Desert there are many things to understand and learn.  There are sometimes troubles at home, and there are in the desert as well; with or without a spouse.  The thing is for the people of God to be faithful and true to Him who is with us always.

Precious Faith

These sermon points are from the message Tim A. Blankenship preached on Sunday morning August 05, 2018.

The reason this one faith in God through Jesus Christ is the Precious Faith…

1 Peter 1-25

I.  It is Most Precious (vv. 1-5)

II.  More Precious than Gold (vv. 6-11).

III.  It was the desire of Prophets and Angels (vv. 10 & 12).

IV.  It is Precious to maintain Holiness; Keeping the Faith ((vv. 13-25).

I Do Not Like the Old Testament…

I Do Not Like the Old Testament, Especially Leviticus

(Reading Exodus 38 – Leviticus 18) Exodus 39:30-32; 40:34-38; Leviticus 13:1-3

I just recently realized that I do not like Leviticus. It is painful to read. It is hard to understand. It is judgmental about human life and living. It condemns me.

Even if I do not like Leviticus there are some things I can learn from it. Then I need to apply that to my life.

1. We are continually reminded that God is Holy, and that He is the LORD.
2. We are reminded again and again that we are unholy and unclean.
3. We are reminded again and again that there must be a sacrifice, or there is no approaching God.
4. We are reminded that that the most basic sacrifice is the blood of a Lamb.

I wrote this in 2013 while I was studying Leviticus.

So that you may know; I do love the whole of the word of God from Genesis – Revelation, and that has been given me as God’s gift of grace.

Beauty and Holiness

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”  Psalm 29:1-2 (KJB)

For some folks they have a problem reconciling beauty and holiness.  We probably have the idea of “Beauty” mostly wrong.  Most of us marvel at the beauty of creation, all that God has made in the outdoors.  I fear that some see more beauty in the things which Adamkind (mankind) has made.  Some see beauty in city lights, and horizons of cities lit up in the night sky.

I see much more of beauty as I look at the stars above at night.  The lights of cities I see as “Light pollution”, polluting the sky with man made conveniences. Now, please do not get me wrong; I do appreciate those conveniences just as much as others do.

What is beauty?  There is an old saying which state, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.  That is probably true with some things, but not God things.  If God states that something is beautiful, then we need to see it as beautiful as well.  The heart right with God will see holiness as something of great beauty.

It anything is holy to the LORD, then, it is beautiful as well.

With God human life is holy.  The blood that flows through our veins and most living creatures, is sacred and holy to the LORD.  The LORD has stated in the book of Leviticus 17:11…

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

For one individual to haphazardly take the life of another individual that is that beauty, neither is it glory to the LORD.  It grieves His heart.  That is why He authorized human government the right of corporal punishment, or the death penalty. My life is no more important that another life.  To intentionally kill for one’s own personal gain, or pleasure is plainly murder, and deserves to die equally.

God created Adamkind in His likeness and after His image.  That has been tainted, and ruined by our sin.  It is restored through the redemptive work of Jesus God’s Son by His death on  the cross.  That is holiness in its beauty.  The Holy dying for the unholy, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Beauty and Holiness in Christ Jesus.

The Children of Men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Precious Faith

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:1-4 (KJV)

Simon Peter a very close friend of the Lord Jesus Christ as He walked, worked, and lived and died on the cross is the Spirit-inspired writer of both First and Second Peter.  He is one of the apostles of Christ.  At one time he was influenced by the devil when he told Jesus that He would not die (Matthew 16:23;  Mark 8:33).

Peter writes of the Precious Faith that we receive “through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ”; so then we must know that “Faith” also is the “Gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  The work of faith and salvation are the gift of God.  They are in fact the same.  When you have faith in Him then you are saved.  When you are saved, then you have faith in Him.  It is the gift of God.

Paul the apostle wrote in Romans 3 that “…All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23), but in Christ Jesus, we have been called into that glory and the virtue of it.  We are no longer separated from God, and even more, because we are in Christ we are recipients of the “exceeding great and precious promises… that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.”  Having the “divine nature” means that we have been given the heart and mind of Christ. The will to think, to act, to live like Christ.  That means we no longer have the heart of sin, but we hate sin just as Jesus does, and we love righteousness, holiness, and righteousness.

We are delivered from the corruption that is in the world, and our desires are what God desires for us.

If you are still desiring to live in your sinful passions and lust, you enjoy living in sin, then you have not been delivered from the corruption of this wicked world.  You are still bound in sin and death, and you are on the road to eternal destruction and hell.  You need to call on the name of Jesus who died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and He rose again.  One day He will come again just as He said He would (John 14:1-3).  Call on Him today, even now.

Slaves

“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” Romans 6:15-20 (KJV)

We are all born into sin.  Separated from God, totally depraved, and without hope apart from God’s intervention.  We are bound to sin, death, and the grave.  We were slaves to sin.  That sounds bleak and dark does it not?  That is our condition when we human beings are born into this world.

We cannot help but sin, because we are born into the slavery of sin.  Someone has said, “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.”  That is why there is evil in this old world.  Jeremiah the prophet said it right,,,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

When we are away from God, outside of His grace and mercy there is no help to keep us from evil, and doing evil.  God the Creator, the Almighty, All-Knowing, All-Powerful and All-Present GOD knows our plight, our sin situation, our condemnation, and He has intervened to deliver us.

He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ as our sacrifice for sin.  He was our sin-bearer.  The Perfect One for the sinful, imperfect ones.  He was smitten for our sins.  Through faith in the Christ and His finished work on the cross we are set free from sin, its slavery, its condemnation, and its death; and we will live forever.

Now, having been set free from sin, we are now the slaves, the servants of righteousness.  We have the freedom to do good, to do right, and to shun all that is evil – all that is against God, against His word, against His Son and against His Spirit.

Hear the Spirit of God as He shows you the Lord Jesus Christ as Son of God, God the Son, and the Immutable [Unchanging] One.

Let the Earth Keep Silence

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20 (KJV)

Habakkuk was a prophet like others, and other people who have asked the question “Where is God in the matter of justice?”; or “Why does God not judge wickedness?”  I have noticed in reading these questions, and having asked them myself a time or two, that God never gives a direct answer, but always takes us to Himself.

God had told this prophet that He was basically judging evil, even by using an evil king and nation to do it.  I have learned that if we want to know about evil and justice, then we first need to look inward.

With Habakkuk, the LORD was showing that this nation which He was using to chastise His own people was idol worshipers.  They would one day find out that they were going to experience justice as well; the judgment of God.

Every idol will one day be exposed for what it is.  There is idolatry in every nation on earth; yes, even the U. S. of A.  We have an idol in New York harbor, that we hold more dear than we do the word of the LORD.  We revere the words of physicians over the word of the LORD.  We hold the word of financiers as more valuable than the word of the LORD.  We value science over the word of the LORD.  These idols will one day come crashing down.

However, “…The LORD is in His holy temple…”, and that is speaking of His heavenly throne, and in this world His temple is also within those who have believed in Him through His Son Jesus, and the cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God, God the Son (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Let the children of God, all Christians, cast off the works of the flesh, and put on the garments of salvation (Romans 13:12, 14; Galatians 3:27), and show forth the glory of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  This would be revival in the truest sense of the word.

When God’s people repent of their sins, and come out of the world, then by the grace and power of God, there will be change in the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of the earth.

 

Set Apart

“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 therefore be holy, for I am holy.”  Leviticus 11:44-45  (KJV)

Let me be honest with you.  I have never been real fond of Leviticus.  I read it, and it blesses my heart and soul, but my flesh really despises it; and that is as it should be.

It is verses as the above which mark me, maul me, and make me cringe.  I love the fact that the LORD is my God; because there is no other; but the word “Sanctify” is a catchy one, an almost demanding one.

To sanctify something is to set it apart as holy.  You hear that word “Holy”.  That is what God’s people are to be; sanctified as holy; holy unto God, and there is no holiness in me.

The apostle Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“I beseech you therefore… that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…”  Romans 12:1

I fall so often in this matter.  I am so grateful for the love, and grace of God shown through the cross; the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus prayed for you and me when He prayed….

“Sanctify through Your truth: Your word is truth.”  John 17:17

Will His prayer be answered?  Most definitely.  We who know Him are sanctified, set apart as holy unto God.  Do we make mistakes?  I have not met a perfect person yet.  Every morning I wake up the first person I see is in the mirror, and I know he is not perfect.

I just thank God, His Son Jesus the Christ, the Holy Spirit and the word of God for their work in me.  I thank Him for His work in you, and all my brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world.  He is working on us; making us more into the image of His own dear Son.

You are Set Apart.  You are sanctified, and being sanctified.  It is a daily work of grace in the Spirit of God.  Remember to participate in that sanctification by attending a Bible believing, Christ centered Church today.  It is the LORD’S Day.  Give it to Him

Christmas Day Fifty and Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to grow and abound in love for my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus; and to love all others as God does; especially as the coming of the Lord Jesus is getting closer.

“Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (KJV)

Christmas Day Ninety and Six

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to live as though my whole body and being is the temple of the Lord; that He dwells in me; and that I am to keep it holy, for His honor, glory and power.

“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. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5-7 (KJV)

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Courageous

“Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before Me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.” Jeremiah 15:19-21 (KJV)

You have experienced rejection by family, friends, and others. You know what it is like to stand alone on an issue, on morality, against immorality, or some political matter; don’t you?

The days of Jeremiah the prophet were filled with contempt from his family, and class of people. Jeremiah is from a family of priests. He could possibly have been a high priest of Israel one day, but God the LORD had something else in mind. Jeremiah was seeing the spiritual adultery, and physical adultery of the priesthood, and the people. Yeah! There was immorality, idolatry, ungodliness among those who called themselves, “God’s people”.

The call from God for Jeremiah was to call their attention to God, to their immoral acts, their departure from the living God, to serve idols. They rejected the prophets words; which were God’s; and threatened him, at times with death.

Jeremiah has been speaking with the LORD, and acknowledges that he has “found” God’s word, and “Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (v. 16). Yet, the prophet is troubled by the rejection of his people, and the priesthood; and he vents to God, feeling that God has failed him (v. 18).

The verses above (vv. 19-21) are God’s words to the prophet for faith, patience, and encouragement. For Jeremiah to be a “Fenced brazen wall” means God will make him bold, courageous, strong in the face of opposition to the Word. Nothing will be able to penetrate it. It might be called “Stubborn holiness” by many who do not understand.

Just about he same words are spoken to Isaiah and Ezekiel (Isaiah 50:7; Ezekiel 3:8-9).

As Christians we are not to be stubborn and unmovable toward God, His Spirit or His Word; but we do need to be that “Fenced brazen wall” against the things that are against God, His Spirit and His Word.

We are to stand against evil; anything that is against God, His Spirit and His word is evil; and we must stand adamantly opposed to it. Stand in Christ Jesus the one who set His mind on the cross and died for you and me.

The LORD Reigns

“The LORD reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh Thine house, O LORD, for ever.” Psalm 93:1-5 (KJV)

The place where my wife and I live is along a continuous flowing stream called Flat Creek, in Southwest Missouri. We are out of any danger of flooding, barring a world wide flood; and I am certain that is not going to happen, because of God’s promise never to do that again.

I begin telling you this, because we can step out our back door, and hear the water from the creek flowing over the rocks, with a comforting, still noise of flowing waters. When we get a lot of rain, and the creek rises; then it sounds like a roaring storm. It is even noisy where you must speak louder when you speak to another person. My wife and I love living here. We like to call it “our little piece of heaven on earth.” The road to get here is rough, rocky, and could be treacherous. Does that not sound like Jesus’s description of the road to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14)?

This is about our Lord. The LORD reigns. Even in a perilous, dark, evil, wicked world our God reigns. When the storms rage; our God reigns. When the kings of earth rebel against the way of God (Psalm 2); our God reigns. When the voices which hate God make decisions that are contrary to God, His Word and His way; our God reigns.

The idea of the “flood” reminds me of the prophet Isaiah’s inspired words, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19b).

We need to remember the silence of God speaks louder than any king or ruler can ever speak. The LORD is mightier than the noise of many waters.

Come to the LORD through His Son Jesus Christ who died for your sins, was buried, and arose bodily from the grave and is alive forever more.

The Land is GOD’S to Give as He Pleases

“God hath spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the strength of Mine head; Judah is My lawgiver; Moab is My washpot; over Edom will I cast out My shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of Me.” Psalm 60:6-8 (KJV)

One of the things people and nations need to understand is that God is the owner of all lands, and distributes those lands as He sees fit.

The land of Canaan was promised to Abraham, and His children through Isaac the promised son. He gave the land of Canaan plus land on the east side of Jordan to the people of promise.

Down through the ages there is still contention over that land. It is simply because the people will not submit to God’s ownership and division of that land. If the people would submit to God’s ownership, division of that land, and realize we are all only stewards of where we dwell; then there could be peace.

The Psalmist speaking the words of God notes this division. Shechem and Succoth are land on the east side of Jordan, and were given to two and one half tribes of Israel, because of their request for it (Numbers 32:1-5). Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah are God’s people. God says, “Gilead is Mine.” He also says, “Manasseh is Mine”; and “Ephraim is the helmet for My head” (NKJV), and “Judah is My lawgiver”.

To think about “Moab is My washpot” we are the surrounding enemy nations; along with Edom, and Philistia. We might consider Moab as the “washpot” in that when Israel strayed God uses them to discipline, chastise Israel for their waywardness.

Do we as Christians today understand that all God has given in our hand, under our feet, even on our back are His; and we are uniquely His stewards to care, and work it for His glory? The land is His and everything on it.

When we know God through His Son Jesus Christ we will understand this and will direct our lives accordingly. We will love the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We will love the Word of God, we will hear it and do what He says. When we fail, or fall we will trust Him to pick us back up; and we will continue on the path of holiness.

The Reign of God in the Earth

“God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted.” Psalm 47:8-9 (KJV)

God not only reigns over the heathen; He also reigns over the hearts of all men, all the people of the earth. It may not appear to be so at times but He does.

The name of God given three times in the above verses is “Elohim” representing the whole of the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the only one qualified, worthy and able to sit on the throne of His holiness.

These verses do seem to point to the time when the Messiah [Jesus Christ] comes, and reigns from His throne in Jerusalem. The “Princes” could be all those who have been redeemed through the ages, and are gathered together to do His bidding in all the earth.

The “Shields of the earth” are those given kingdom power and authority to carry out the word and will of God in the earth.

Even those in the earth in our world today who have been given authority to rule, have been given that authority by God; and this is what the apostle Paul says of that;

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” Romans 13:1-6

If you will notice this authority has been given them for the “Good”, not to be a terror to the people.  When the authorities rebel against the good laws of God, and bring terror on the people the people of God must stand up, and stand against the tyranny.

However, God still reigns, and is directing the course of this world; preparing for the day He rules and reigns righteousness in the earth.

Dealing With Our Sin; the Enemy Within

“But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.” Numbers 33:55-56 (KJV)

There is a certain ideology of the world today that likens Christianity to extremism of the religious nature. For some reason; fear, shame, or for whatever reason Christians are silent about the things concerning holiness in the life of the Christian; and the major extreme we as individuals must go to to root out, rid ourselves of all that is vile, evil and unholy.

We need to be extremist when it comes to dealing with unholiness. The first place is to begin within ourselves. Put it off. Christ Jesus has given us power and authority to deal with evil in ourselves.

The above verses are verses for Israel to deal with the evil of the land of Canaan they were about to conquer in the name of the LORD. The Canaanites had polluted the land with innocent blood; sacrificing children, and the elderly alike; worshipping unholy deities. God had given them more than 400 years to change their ways; but they did not. Now He was going to purify the land.

For the Christian we are to put off sin, and put on Christ. The apostle Paul speaks of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10ff); and that warfare deals with fighting sin within, and around us. That warfare does not involve the shedding of innocent blood. That blood has already been shed; the blood of Jesus Christ for our sins.

The warning of verse 56 above is that if we do not drive evil out, and we allow any of it to remain, then that evil will be a torment; just as thorns in our sides, and pricks in our eyes; the evil we let remain will be a vexing of our souls. May God help us.

Deal Quickly with Sin

“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.” Numbers 25:6-9 (KJV)

The world and those caught up in unholiness do not understand holiness, and this zeal which Phinehas had for the holiness of God. Many of those who profess to be Christians are okay with the world and its unholiness; thus, portraying to the world, an unholy god.

Verse 3 of chapter25 tells us that the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, because they had joined themselves with the very people who had been trying to have them cursed by Balaam. Balaam showed that he hated God, His holiness, and His people by leading the people of Moab to join with Israel in flagrant rebellion against God (Revelation 2:14).

I am not going to try and explain Phinehas’s actions, except God did approve of them, because of His zeal; and due to his zeal for the holiness of God the plague which had came on the people was stopped. God also blessed Phinehas, and his family (Numbers 25:12-13). The actions of Phinehas most likely saved the lives of thousands more of the people of Israel.

Sin was dealt with by God through the death of His Son. God Himself struck Him (Isaiah 53:4-9). That is how God views His holiness. How quickly will I deal with sin in my own life? How about you? Let us deal first with our own sin, then we can with mercy deal with the sins of others.

Holy God; Unholy Me

“And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will. On the same day it shall be eaten up; ye shall leave none of it until the morrow: I am the LORD. Therefore shall ye keep My commandments, and do them: I am the LORD. Neither shall ye profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you, that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 22:29-33 (KJV)

At least four times in the above verses above it is written, “I am the LORD”.  Do you have a problem with God being “the LORD”?

One of the things that stands out to me as I read Leviticus is that since God is holy He demands holiness from His people.  Holiness is nothing less than perfection.  Well!  I do not meet God’s requirements.  I do not know anyone who does.  That leaves me in terribly bad shape with God.  That is probably not good English, but I am not perfect there either.

I was born into this world in a condemned, unholy state with God.  When I look at His law, His Word I am condemned by it, and find myself totally separated from holy God.  By these laws I see what God commands, and I realize my need.  My need is God.  On my own I cannot have Him.  I also find that He loves me.  Why else would He give these laws?  Most of all why would He, with all these sacrifices, show us that there is a way to Himself, except that He loves us?

All of these sacrifices of lambs, bulls, goats, etc. are pictures, shadows, types of the anti-type who is Christ Jesus.  I no longer am condemned by the law, because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, but through the death of Christ, and His bodily resurrection, I have access into the very throne room of holy God.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Now if I were to tell you that I do not know Him; if I were to live my life as if I did not know Him, then I would profane His name.

The following are the written words of Matthew Henry on the above verses,

That the flesh of their thank-offerings should be eaten on the same day that they were sacrificed, Lev_22:29, Lev_22:30. This is a repetition of what we had before, Lev_7:15; Lev_19:6, Lev_19:7. The chapter concludes with such a general charge as we have often met with, to keep God’s commandments, and not to profane his holy name, Lev_22:31, Lev_22:32. Those that profess God’s name, if they do not make conscience of keeping his commandments, do but profane his name. The general reasons are added: God’s authority over them – I am the Lord; his interest in them – I am your God; the title he had to them by redemption – “I brought you out of the land of Egypt, on purpose that I might be your God;” the designs of his grace concerning them – I am the Lord that hallow you; and the resolutions of his justice, if he had not honour from them, to get himself honour upon them – I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. God will be a loser in his glory by no man at last; but sooner or later will recover his right, either in the repentance of sinners or in their ruin.

from Matthew Henry Commentary

Without Jesus Christ you are a condemned, dying soul, headed for an eternity of torment and away from God.  Is that really what you desire?

Sanctify Yourselves

“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. And ye shall keep My statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.” Leviticus 20:7-8 (KJV)

Much of this in dealing with sexual abomination, and witchcraft of all sorts; and worship of idols (Molech, etc). In this reading is mentioned the abomination of homosexuality (18:22 and 20:13).

The first reference is commandment against it. The second is the judgment handling it. Of course there are other abominations – sexual and otherwise named with the same penalty of death. There is beastiality, family incest of all sorts, and the mystical arts, including sacrificing children in the fire to Molech (20:1-5).

The matter of the law shows that we are all under the law of death. There is mercy and there is grace for all people who will come to God through His Son Jesus Christ. In and through Christ we sanctify ourselves, being empowered by God’s Spirit to come out from the abominations of the world, and being holy, separate unto God.

“Be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.”

Also read 1 Corinthians 10:19-22.

Be Holy

“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 therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45 (KJV)

God has spoken these words; Moses wrote them down, and they are holy words. These words remind us that God is holy, and that because He is holy His people ought also be holy.

In the previous verses it has been written what Israel can and cannot eat and be holy. Eating seems to be such a trivial part of living; however, it matters to GOD. I have no understanding as to why any of these animals are clean or unclean. I do not know that any of the children of Israel understood either, but it was imperative that the people believe GOD, and obey Him. They were not called to understand, but to believe GOD, and obey.

The fact, the truth that GOD is holy is one way of saying that there is no other God. Yet the word “God” is ‘Elohiym” and is a plural for God. Any time we see this is Scripture it is speaking of the plurality of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is holy. The Son is Holy. The Spirit is Holy. Those who claim to know Him are to be holy.

Just what is holiness. It means to be uniquely distinct from all others. The child of God; the Christian is to live a life different than the people around us. Out talk should magnify Christ Jesus. Our walk – where we go, how we dress, the things we eat, the things we drink, the music we listen to, the movies we watch should be measured by Jesus and not whether the world is doing it.

In the New Testament the Christian is commanded to be holy (1 Peter 1:15, 16).

Great is the LORD…

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.” Psalm 48:1 (KJV)

Greatness is often ascribed to athletes, business men, presidents, world leaders, sometimes even preachers, and teachers.  To give credit where credit is due is a good thing, but let us face it there are none who are so great.

Men or women  we lift up and place on pedestals can fall off the stands so easily.  We have seen athletes fall, presidents, business men and women alike come crumbling down.  None of us are “Great”.

There is only One who is Great; and that is the LORD.  He alone is worthy of praise, honor and glory.  The one’s whose hearts are knit with His, are the one’s who should greatly praise Him.

When we read the Bible, and as we read the Psalms we find that these words are really not about us; they are about the One who made us, along with all that is.  We live in a time, and culture where everything is about “Me”.  However, it should be about Him.

Great is the LORD, and He is greatly to be praised with our lives, our hearts, our minds and our strength.  He is holy, separate from all things and worthy.  True praise and worship of the LORD will begin when you trust and believe in the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, and trust His finished work on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection.  Let praise of Him begin today.

GOD of the Present

GOD of the Present

 

Exodus 3:1-22

We are told in the New Testament, by Jesus, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:32; Mark 12:26). He is not only Lord of all that is past, He is GOD of the present. He is Onmipresent, and that means everywhere; past, present and future.

1. HE Makes a Personal Appearance (vv. 1-6).

A. The “angel of the LORD” is understood by many to be an preincarnate appearance of Jesus. (v. 2).

B. He will be seen as Holy, and calls holy actions on His people’s lives as well. (v. 5).

C. Many of today’s professing Christians have become like the world rather than separate from it.

 

2. HE is Compassionate Toward His People (vv. 7-10).

A. Psalm 78:38

B. Luke 15:20

 

3. HE Will Reveal Himself to His People (vv. 11-18).

A. Jesus, in His humanity is the bodily revelation and representation of God to the world (Colossians 2:9; Heb. 1:1-3).

 

4. HE Will Show Himself Strong (vv. 19-22; 2 Chronicles 16:9).

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

Is God Missing In Your Life?

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

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

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

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

Hear the Word of the LORD:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 071413

The Poverty of Christ:  Our Riches

I.  We Are Changed Into the Image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

II.  Having Received Mercy,  We Do not Quit (2 Corinthians 4:1-2).

III.  Our Confidence is in the Work of Christ and His Word (2 Corinthians 5:6-11).

IV.  The Most Important Time is… NOW  (2 Corinthians 6:1-2;  Exodus 3:13-15).

V.  Our Motivation for Being Holy are the Promises of GOD (2 Corinthians 7:1;  1 John 3:2-3).

VI.  In His Poverty We are Made Rich – His Poverty; Our Riches (2 Corinthians 8:7-9).

Words for Christian Living – Personal Cleansing

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)

God has given many precious promises to His people.  It is because of God’s promises; His wonderful gifts that we cleanse ourselves.

There are those elements within Christianity that tell us that “We need not worry about living a good clean life.  Just eat, drink, be merry.  God is gracious.”  There is an element of truth to that, however, we are told by God in Scripture to “Cleanse ourselves from all filthiness”.  We need to separate ourselves from those who would live lives of debauchery, iniquity, and filth.  The Christian needs to live in the truth of the word of God, dwell around people of like faith, attend a faithful, Bible believing, Bible preaching, Christ honoring Church faithfully.

John the apostle has written,

 “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)

To be in peace and fellowship with God we must maintain holy lives.

Words for Christian Living – Use Words Wisely

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  Matthew 7:6 (KJV)

When I was a teenage boy, and first got my driver’s license I was probably like a lot of other boys.  I liked to spin my wheels, smoke my tires, stir the dust when I was in the pasture; and such wasteful things as that.

It seems these days many Christians are good at “Spinning their wheels”, “Smoking their tires”, and “Stirring the dust” when it comes to “Debate” or discussing the issues.  Some of those issues; such as the Evolution/Creation debate is one I see as a waste of our time.

The atheist; the non-theists argues for evolution; and I for one can see their argument.  They do not believe in God, and evolution relieves them of any responsibility to the Higher Power.  Many atheist have their minds made up.  Prayerfully many Christians have our minds made up concerning Creation; I know I do.  There is nothing the evolutionist or atheist can say to change it.  I believe the Word of God, and without God or His Word there would be no Science or atheists.  If there was no God, there would be no argument.

The point I want to make is from the verse above.  As Christians we have a calling to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, contend for the faith; but once we have done that, and seeing an individual set on ignoring the Spirit of God, and His Word; we need to move on.  To continue in that “Debate” is fruitless.  Deliver the gospel of Jesus Christ, then leave it in God’s hands, pray for the individual and watch God work.

After all; do you think you are more persuasive than God’s Spirit?

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Words for Christian Living 061213

“Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) that in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, in the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: when he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace; where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble. And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king. And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man’s pleasure. Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus.”  Esther 1:1-9 (KJV)

In the book of Esther we have a historical account of the events in the life of the children of God [Israel] while still in captivity following their being carried away by Babylon.  The book of Esther never mentions the name of God; however you can see God working all through the book.  There are many things about it I do not understand, nor can I explain some of the things concerning the law.

The above verses show the opposite of how the righteous and just are to live.

These posted verses show the extravagance and waste of an earthly king and kingdom.  It shows the Christian that we are in the world, but we cannot live as the world.  We must stand; always with wisdom.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Words for Christian Living 053113

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  Romans 12:1-3 (KJV)

Though the Lord no longer requires blood sacrifices; the slaying of lambs, bulls, goats, etc.; we are still “Beseeched”  that is strongly encouraged; to make our own “Bodies” a living sacrifice unto the Lord.  It is to be a sacrifice “Holy, acceptable unto God”.  That truly means that once we are a child of God, born again through faith in Christ Jesus; that our bodies are not our own.  We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Where GOD Begins

And to the others He said in mine hearing, ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.’ Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.  And He said unto them, ‘Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth.’ And they went forth, and slew in the city.”  Ezekiel 9:5-7 (KJV)

God is so holy, righteous and just He does not tolerate sin.  He will carry out vengeance on all who are evil.  He begins at His own house.  Be sure you are in Christ Jesus.  He has already bore the wrath, the vengeance of God for all those who believe Him.  Also see 1 Peter 4:17.

-T.A.

Day 87 – The Power of a Godly Life

The title of this reveals some inadequacy in my own life.  I do not believe that I exhibit the power of Christ in my life as I ought.  I fall short.  I read the Bible and for today particularly James’s and Peter’s Epistles; and I hear their calls to faith that works, and godliness.

My reading was James 4-5, and First and Second Peter.

James writes,

“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  James 4:1-4 (KJV)

We Christians, especially today, and probably in every age do not realize the power we have with God in prayer.  Maybe I should say, at least I do not.  Part of the problem with the Corinthian church was jealousy over spiritual gifts.  Can you imagine us fighting over who is more spiritual?  The answer is “None”.  I was reading a book by E. M. Bounds, and a chapter about “Prayerless Praying”.  The following is a sentence from that chapter –

“Prayerless praying lacks the essential element of true praying; it is not based on desire, and it is devoid of earnestness and faith.”

When Brother Bounds mentions “Desire” in that sentence he is not meaning worldly, fleshly desire but rather the desire God gives (Psalam 37:3-4).  Our praying is more like rubbing a bottle for a genie, and getting three wishes; and that comes to nothing.

Notice James mentions also, the power of the prayer of the Old Testament prophet Elijah –

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.   And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”  5:16b-18

I look at Elijah, then I take a look at myself.  I have something greater than Elijah, yet not the faith or the power.  Sometimes it seems my prayers have an opposite affect than what I ask; at least from my point of view.  Why did Elijah have so much authority and power in his praying?  I believe it must have been because he was jealous to glorify the LORD of hosts.  He was outraged by Israel’s departure from God; and he was willing to risk his life to restore her back to God; even approaching the king Ahab, and Jezebel.

Now look at what Peter says of holiness –

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:15-16

Peter mentions our being “Born again” (1 Peter 1:23), and that it is not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible.  That it is “by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”, that we are born again.  Born from above, born of God are similar phrases and trues given us throughout the Bible.

Peter gives men instruction concerning their wives,

“…Ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  1 Peter 3:7

A husband can be so out of fellowship with his wife, his fellowship with God is broken and his prayers hindered.  Peter has given previous instruction to the wives, to slaves (2:18 – 3:6).  They have their responsibilities in Christ as well.  Let no Christian think they can be holy unto God, if they are not following the direction of the Spirit of God and His Word.

The apostle Peter mentions Paul in 2 Peter 3:15, and this is what he says,

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”  2 Peter 3:15-16 (KJV)

There had been some contention between the apostles Paul and Peter; yet in Christian love Peter acknowledges that the writings of Paul are part of holy Scripture, and need to be heard (See Galations 2:11-14ff).  Peter desires that the Christian “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 18).  That is my desire for all Christians as well; even myself.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 16 – Me and My House

Reading the fourteen chapters I read today left me a little bit bewildered, because there is so much to think about when it comes to writing and what there is to post.  As I sat down to write I was not sure of what to post here at Fire and Hammer; and then I believe I saw the way this was to go.

My reading consisted of Joshua 23 – 24 and Judges 1 – 12.  In Joshua his life is coming to an end and he offers a challenge to the people he is leading;

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

I know, I know a very familiar verse to every Christian; at least it should be.  However, I think I see it a bit differently now after reading it this time.  I noticed that Joshua puts the responsibility of their obedience upon their shoulders.  I guess I knew that previously, but it seemed more pronounced today.  Hear the conversation between Joshua and the people,

“And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye cannot serve the LORD: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.  If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good.’  And the people said unto Joshua, ‘Nay; but we will serve the LORD.’  And Joshua said unto the people, ‘Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve Him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’  ‘Now therefore put away, said he, ‘the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.'”  vv. 19-23

God demands that His people be holy.  Joshua gave them the truth of God and His Word, and they said we will be responsible.  “We are willing to suffer the consequences of our disobedience when we do so”, “We are witnesses” of this.

We then enter the book of Judges, read of Joshua’s death, and how the people anger the LORD through their worship of foreign gods; which actually begins by departing from GOD.  Disobedience is the first step of departure from GOD;

“And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19

The chariots would have appeared to them to be like a military tank to a man on foot in today’s army.  Yet, I must ask, What of God and faith in Him?  Is that not how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down?  Is that not how the waters of the Red Sea parted?  What about the water from the Rock?  The Manna from heaven?  Then we read,

“And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, ‘I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.   And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?  Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.” 2:1-3

So now, because of their absence of trust in the LORD, their departure from Him to other gods; GOD leaves the enemy in their midst to act as “thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”  We as Christians can sit back and judge them and ask these questions concerning their faith; but what about our own.  When it comes to holiness are there things in our hearts and lives that separate us from the blessing of God?

Our holiness is, of course, through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is His holiness, His righteousness, in which we must rest; however, we too have a responsibility to obedience in “… faith which worketh by love.” (Galations 5:6).

Grow in faith and love toward Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 8 – Holiness and the LORD

Sometimes, maybe much time is made of mocking all that is holy.  Even among Christians it is not often taken seriously.  Someone who becomes devoted to living holy is often told something like, “O, come on now.  You can’t be serious”.  God is serious about holiness, because He is holy.

In reading Leviticus you will find much about “Holiness”.  You will find it stated by the LORD, “Be holy; for I am holy” many times.  I read that several times as I was reading Leviticus 9 – 22 this morning.

When two sons of Aaron did not take holiness seriously; or right worship seriously they died,

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He commanded them not.  And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Leviticus 10:1-2 (KJV)

Their death seems to have been due to entering the most Holy Place with alcoholic drink on them;

“And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, ‘Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: and that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.'”  Leviticus 10:9

Whatever the “strange fire” was that Nadab and Abihu took into the Holy Place it was not holy unto the LORD.  God takes holiness among His people very seriously, and so should the Christian of today.

As we look at Leviticus with all its commandments, requirements for holiness, laws for dealing with body sores, and skins rashes, and leprosy, sexual relationships, eating; the right kinds of animals, insects and fish to eat, etc. it seems like it would be an impossible feat to meet God’s requirements for holiness.  I believe that to be an accurate assessment of our situation.

With all that God requires for our holiness we all fall short.  I mean who would always be aware of sitting on something that is unclean (Leviticus 15).  Only God would always know that.

The declaration of the Law is that we are Guilty, Guilty, and Guilty of being unholy; unless we can keep the whole law.  There is only One who did.  His name is Jesus Christ and He was and is the atonement for all our sins.

God has said many times through my reading to day, “I am the LORD”.  That is it.  He is holy; and He requires holiness of His people.  It is only attainable through the once and for all shed blood of His Son; who was our atonement, and scapegoat for our sins (Leviticus 16); carrying our sin away.  God is still serious about sin and holiness.  Jesus rose bodily from the grave, and ever lives as our intercessor.

Blessed be the holy name of the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship