Two Went to Pray

“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’
”  Luke 18:9-14  (KJB)

Two men are mentioned who went to pray.  That is not to say that it could be members of the feminine sex as well, because there are those two kinds of women as well.

One full of themselves; and the other repentant and humble, realizing they are in need of God’s bountiful grace and mercy.

The Pharisee knew the law, and exalted himself in his own purity, and talk about judging others unjustly; this Pharisee certainly did.  He saw himself as better than the publican.  The Pharisee being a “great” religious leader.

The publican (not Republican), was a despised, and hated tax collector.  He gathered taxes from his own people (the Hebrews), and many counted them as traitors to Israel.  Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him to follow, and he left his table and followed Jesus (Matthew 9:9; 10:3).

It is the heart that our Lord sees. Repentance, humility, before the throne of God is what He desires.

God does not hear neither grant request from an arrogant and prideful heart.  It was the hated, despised tax collector who went home justified by God.

The apostle Paul writing on the matter of Justification said,,,

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

It is by God’s own declaration of justification that we are made just; not our own.  Who then are made just?  Those who come before the cross of Jesus Christ, lost, lonely, sinful, broken, and ashamed, and plead for His mercy, love, and grace.

Kings, Neighbors,Enemies, and Honey

“These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.  The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: for better it is that it be said unto thee, ‘Come up hither;’ than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”  Proverbs 25:1-7  (KJB)

Kings, Neighbors, Enemies, and Honey – Proverbs 25:1-28

VERSES 1-7 –  On verses two and three the MacArthur Study Bible notes, “God…kings. The roles of God and the king are compared.  God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge (cf. Ps. 92:5; Eccl. 3:11; Is. 46:10; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:13), and whose ways are unsearchable (cf. Job 5:9; Ps. 145:3; Is. 40:28), keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel (see Rom. 11:34).  On the contrary, kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.”

Looking at verses four and five we can conclude that kingdoms of men are established by God when wickedness is removed and righteousness is in place.  There is silver present, but it must be refined by fire.

In verses six and seven we see that humility is an honorable trait even in places of authority.

VERSES 8-20 –  Getting along with neighbors will be aided by not being hasty in judging them when they seem to be unwise, and in the end you are shamed by your own actions (vv. 8-10).

Using words wisely when dealing with our neighbors (vv. 11-12).  Refreshing and encouraging  words from a messenger (v. 13).  Forbearance or patience is a necessity for good neighbors (vv. 14-15).  Too much of a good and sweet thing will end in hatred of that very thing (vv. 16-17).

Being a good neighbor involves confidence in the right place and people, respecting truth and, others comfort, shelter, and nourishment (vv. 18-20).

VERSES 21-28 –  We ought to treat our enemies as we would treat our neighbors.  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19; 22:39;  Mark 12:31;  Luke 10:27;  Rom 13:9;  Gal. 5:14;  James 2:8).

VERSES 16 and 27 –  Honey is a natural sweetener.  Too much of this sweetener will make one sick.  Verse 16 prepares us for verse 17 where spending too much time a neighbor’s can be a thing that turns to hatred if not done in moderation.

To search for one’s own glory is as bad as eating too much honey.  It will make others sick, and possibly you sick as well.

The Humility of the Kingdom

The Humility Of The Kingdom

“And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.’” Matthew 18:3-6

Matthew 18:1-35

Five things we can learn from Matthew 18.

This is the fourth of five sermons which Matthew records of those which Jesus preached. The first is the Sermon on the Mount chapters 5-7; the second is in chapter 10 which is the the Commissioning of the Twelve; the third was the Parables of the Kingdom; now the fourth which is the Sermon on a Childlike faith.

There are five qualities of humility which we see in chapter eighteen:

I. TRUSTING THE LORD BECAUSE WE HAVE NO RESOURCES OF OUR OWN (vv. 1-5).

II. HARMING OR OFFENDING ONE OF THESE HUMBLED ONES IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE (vv. 6-9).

III. CARING FOR THE OFFENDED ONES AS A SHEPHERD DOES HIS SHEEP (vv. 10-14).

IV. DISCIPLINE AND RECONCILIATION OF AN OFFENDING OR OFFENDED BRETHREN (vv. 15-20).

V. THE HUMBLED CHILD; A FORGIVEN CHILD; A FORGIVING CHILD (vv. 21-35).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Boasting in the LORD

“I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 (KJB)

There is a whole lot of boasting going on.  I boast of one thing, and then another. So do you. I know of no one who has not made a boast of one thing or another.  Let me post a question;  Do you ever boast in the LORD?  Do you boast of His greatness, His power and authority?  Do you boast of His so great salvation?  Whoops!  That was three questions.

God is great to boast in.  Boast of a work He has accomplished in your life; and be sure to credit Him, not yourself.  When we boast in the LORD we take credit from our own achievements  and give them to the One to whom they belong.  That is where humility really begins.

The humble will always glorify the LORD with words and with a life that shows forth the power and glory of Jesus.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.  Amen

It all begins in recognizing Jesus as your Lord and Savior; the Son of God and God the Son.

The Treasure of Wisdom

Wisdom’s Gold,  and a Honeycomb – Proverbs 16:16-24

Verse 16 –  The worth of wisdom and understanding compared to gold and/or silver.  What, if anything, is lost by having one without the other?  Prov. 3:13

Verse 17 – 19 —   Life is sometimes compared to a road.  Is that a good comparison?  Why?  How would you describe the “Highway of the upright?”  Think about what it means to stay on (“Keepeth his way”) that highway.
In what way does pride lead to destruction?  Is “Pride” some of the time, or all the time related to refusing to see and acknowledge there is a problem?  Jeremiah 49:16
The “Humble spirit” needs no spoils.  For verse 19 reference see Psalm 84:10.

Verse 20 – 24 —

“Prov. 16:20–24  These verses commend the speech characteristic of the wise of heart (vv. 21a, 23a): the wise consider their words carefully (vv. 20a, 23a) so that their words are both persuasive (vv. 21b, 23b) and good for body and soul (v. 24);  they exhibit faithfulness to God (v. 20b) and are considered discerning by others (v. 21a).  Such wisdom is a fountain of life, and foolish speech is empty of any such benefits (v. 22).”  Note from the ESV Study Bible

Pleasant and precious words are sweet and comes from hearts of wisdom of understanding (verses 16 and 24).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Requirements of the Christian Man

What God Requires Of His Men

Exodus 3:1-10

I. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE MEN OF OBSERVATION CONCERNING THINGS OF GOD (vv. 1-4).

A. God does things sometimes to get a man’s attention.

1. The fire of God is burning long before it is seen by man’s eyes.
2. It is God who opens our eyes that we might see His fire.

B. We should be drawen by the fire of God once it is observed.
C. When we get into the presence and fire of God we begin to reckon with our sin and our lives.

II. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE EXPECTED TO HUMBLE THEMSELVES IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD (vv. 5-6).

A. Humble before God we remove the manmade shoes of self-support.

1. Self reformation will not, nor cannot stand before the presence of holy God.
2. Taking off the shoes of “Self-Support” in God’s presence keeps us sensitive in our walk with God.

a. It also makes us cautous in our walk.
b. Being without shoes we watch where we step.

B. This is a form of removing the “Fig leaves” of self-righteousness.

III. CHRISTIAN MEN ENDEAVOR TO KNOW THE HEART OF GOD (vv. 7-8).

A. The heart of God is to deliver His people from their place of affliction.

1. It grieves the heart of God when His people are afflicted by the world.
2. It grieves His heart even more when we are afflicted spiritually, controlled by sin, and separated from fellowship with Him.

“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” Isaiah 59:1; “Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still” Isaiah 9:17, 21; 10:4 (KJV). “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” Romans 5:6 (KJV).

B. Jesus came knowing the heart of God and His purpose for being.

1. ” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19 (KJV).
2. God’s heart is for the delivering of enslaved people.

“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.” Romans 6:16-18; Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV).

C. God’s heart is set against sin, and so ought the heart of the Christian man reflect the heart of God.

IV. CHRISTIAN MEN ARE CALLED TO A PLACE OF LEADERSHIP (vv. 9-10).

A. Although God is All Powerful [Omnipotent] He uses men to lead people out of slavery and into His blessing.

1. He desires to use those who are willing and He will make us able.
2. He desires to use those who know His heart.

B. What is godly leadership?

1. One who knows God’s call and is committed to be faithful to that call.
2. One who by careful study of God’s Word and diligence knows God’s heart for souls and teaches God’s Word and His way.
3. One who prays and calls his family, and God’s people to repent, and who himself is repentant.
4. One whose heart is to let the Lord be Lord of his life and the church body.

a. If he is a pastor he is not a dictator with his own rules, but trust the Lord’s Word to correct and do its work in individual Christians and in the hearts of the lost.
b. He does not see his position as a place of power, but of servanthood.

5. One who is yielded to God’s tasks at the risk of family, friendships, being misunderstood, and/or life.

a. He is more concerned with God’s commands than with man’s demands.
b. He is obedient to God – repentant when not.

6. One who is burdened for the people.

C. God uses yielded/surrendered men to accomplish great tasks; “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 (KJV).

1. “God is not looking for extraordinary men to do an ordinary task; He is looking for ordinary men to do an extraordinary task.” UNKNOWN
2. Christian men are sent by God to deliver the people of God who are in bondage and lead them out of Egypt [the world] and slavery to sin and the world.

APPLICATION –

I. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO BE OBSERVANT OF HIS FIERY PRESENCE.
II. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO HUMBLE THEMSELVES BEFORE HIS PRESENCE.
III. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO KNOW THE HEART OF GOD.
IV. GOD CALLS CHRISTIAN MEN TO THE PLACE OF LEADERSHIP.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Seven Things God Hates # 1

The Proud Look

This is the first in a seven part series I call “SEVEN ABOMINATIONS WHICH GOD HATES. It is taken from Proverbs 6:16-19 as the text. I began this series on Sunday morning July 09, 2006, and I believe it covers the sins that are the cause of all the ills of the earth. Of course, sin is the cause of all the ills on earth. I pray all who read this will learn to serve and glorify the Lord Jesus for His abundant grace and mercy He has provided for us all upon the cross of Calvary.

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,   An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,   A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19

A PROUD LOOK equals “Haughty eyes” or arrogant ambition.

IT IS THE LOOK THAT DEFIES GOD. “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” Numbers15:30. Note the condemnation of one who sins defiantly/presumptuously. Also look at the words of Isaiah to the king of Assyria because of his “High looks”. A man in the New Testament who would fit into this category could be the one who tore down his old barns to build new ones. Isaiah also says in 2:11, “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

C. S. Lewis said,

“A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

THIS PRIDE WILL CAUSE THE FALL OF THE ONE WHO PRACTICES IT.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.

King Nebuchadnezzar was brought low by the arrogance he had against God, and in the end He glorified the Lord God (YHWH). So will it be with all who exalt themselves over the will of God.

Look at this verse which reminds us of the peril of a Proud look. ” An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” Proverbs 21:4

In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 we find a great contrast to this PROUD LOOK.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v. 3).

THE ‘PROUD LOOK’ IS THE LOOK WHICH SAYS, ‘I KNOW BETTER THAN GOD’. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:21, “Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.” It is the PROUD LOOK of the man which says, ‘I will not love my wife as Christ loved the Church…”, or just plainly refuses to do so. It is the PROUD LOOK of the woman who refuses to ’submit’ to her husband ‘as to the Lord’. It is the PROUD LOOK of the rebellious child or teenager who will not honor and obey their parents; or the adult who shuns and will not honor their parents; or the husband and/or wife who are not be submissive one to another; nor fulfilling their godly duties to the other.

THE ANSWER IS FOUND IN A HUMBLE HEART TOWARD GOD.

” The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

Someone once said,

“Humility is a funny thing; when you think you have it, you don’t”.

Some Christians beat themselves up verbally in an attempt at “Humility”. That is really a lot of pride manifesting itself in the person to draw others attention toward themselves. How do I know that? How can I say that? Because I have been there. I have been guilty of doing it.

Humility is not trying to make yourself lower than others – true humility is not thinking of yourself at all. The humble person rest in Christ Jesus, and lives for Him and serves others without thought of reward or recognition.

Thank the Lord for those humble people of Christ’s who serve and are not seen.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King Humbled by the Power of The Almighty

This study is Daniel 4:1-37

“Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the High God hath wrought toward me. How great are His signs; and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.” Daniel 4:1-3 (KJV)

A STATEMENT OF PRAISE FROM A KING (vv. 1-3).

As we look at these three verses it becomes quite clear who is speaking. It is king Nebuchadnezzar. He has already been through the experience he describes, and is using it to glorify the Lord Almighty, or as he refers to Him in verse 37 “The King of heaven”. This seems to be the clearest testimony of a once proud, self-exalting king, who came to realize there is a higher King of kings who is worthy of praise.

In this chapter the king is sharing a personal testimony of his own experiences with God. If God had not changed him he would not be making this praise to Him. Nebuchadnezzar was a king. A king who had met the Lord, you might say in battle, and lost. Yet, it was a great gain for king Nebuchadnezzar.

I am sure the greatest humiliation the king experienced was not in praising the greater King, but during that time when he behaved like a beast of the field. Praise be to the KING OF HEAVEN for His sovereignty in the lives of kings, presidents, prime ministers, despots, dictators, and beasts and the common man.

THE TROUBLING DREAM OF A NOT YET HUMBLED KING (vv. 4-7).

The king begins sharing his testimony how everything all got started with his heart change. He tells that he had a very troubling dream. One which made little to no sense to him. He just knew it had a special meaning, but what.

He still has not learned who can know and interpret dreams, though. He calls for the ‘magicians, astrologer, Chaldeans, and soothsayers’ just as before, and just as before they failed to give understanding of the dream. It does seem that they do not try to deceive the king by asking for time.

At the time Nebuchadnezzar has the dream he is yet arrogant, proud, and has no confidence in the Lord GOD. Remember he has had Daniel tell him (because God had revealed it to him), not only the meaning of a dream, but also God showed Daniel the dream which the king dreamed. Also, God has delivered Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah through the fire, and from the fiery furnace. Both of these times Nebuchadnezzar has recognized the power of God, but not humbled himself before Him. “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before Me?” (EX. 10:3),God asked of Pharoah, and though these exact words are not used here, the message is clearly the same. God is pursuing Nebuchadnezzar for His own. God is in pursuit of you.

DANIEL AND THE DREAM OF THE KING (vv. 8-27).

Daniel finally appears before the king. Why Daniel was last is beyond comprehension. You would think that Nebuchadnezzar would have called the one with the most notable success with dreams and interpreting as at the first. That does not seem to be what happened though.

The dream was of a tree. A tree of great height, and breadth. It seemed to cover the earth. In Scripture a tree seems to represent a kingdom: for instance – the tree which grew out of a mustard seed (Matthew 13:310-32); Jesus cursed the fig tree because it bore no fruit (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13-14,20), and the fig tree seems to represent Israel (Hosea 2:12; 9:10).

NOTICE THE CONFIDENCE NEBUCHADNEZZAR HAS IN DANIEL (v. 18).

We can be assured that Daniel was a praying man, and was well studied in the way of God. The request of the king was not as difficult as the first one, but Daniel still had to deliver God’s message.

After spending an hour ‘astonished’ and most likely praying he is troubled. Daniel evidently didn’t like the interpretation. He certainly did not like the idea of telling the king, “Let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee.” was the kings decree when he saw Daniel’s troubled face.

Prophets in those days could lose their heads for giving kings unpleasant messages.

THE INTERPRETATION –

First of all the king would become like a beast of the field;

“The order to fell the great tree was prophetic of temporary form of insanity known as lycanthropy in which a man imagines himself to be some form of animal. The word derives from the Greek lukos, OR ‘wolf’, and ‘anthropos’, meaning ‘man’. BELIEVER’S STUDY BIBLE.

Secondly, the tree represented Nebuchadnezzar;

Third, ‘Watcher’ and ‘holy one’ – God notices the proud of heart; is holy and will cut this king down to size;

Fourth, ‘they’ of verse 25 probably refers to the ‘watcher’ and ‘holy one’;

Fifthly, Seven times most likely is 7 years;

Finally, ‘Leave a stump’ – assurance of Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom continuing for awhile after this judgment and it being returned to Nebuchadnezzar.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS JUDGMENT –

1. To encourage Nebuchadnezzar to cease from sin;

2. To humble the king to recognize the God of all creation and nations.

Daniel calls the king to turn to the LORD.

UNWILLING TO YIELD TO GOD HE BECOMES A BEAST, AND GOD’S PURPOSES ARE ACCOMPLISHED (vv. 28-37).

How can we think that proud, haughty, arrogant people will turn to being Beasts. Think of Romans 1:18-32. Verse 21 says it clearly…

“Because that when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imagination and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

You can see the result of what happens when people refuse to yield to God, by reading the verses which follow in that chapter.

It happened to Nebuchadnezzar just as he was warned in the dream – a short twelve months later – a whole year. This speaks volumes of God’s mercy. God gave him a year to repent and change his way.

It happened on a day of his boasting. Watch out in your arrogance and pride.

How long was this judgment to last? “Until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men and gives it to whoever He wills.” (v. 32). No king or kingdom of men is without the sovereign, ruling hand of God.

Nebuchadnezzar turned his eyes toward Heaven ‘at the end of the days…’ . He praised and honored God as sovereign and having an everlasting kingdom (v. 34). Remember this is the testimony of Nebuchadnezzar.

He was returned to the throne. Ruling as a new king with a new heart. He had seen the True King – the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Did the king change? Read verse 37…

“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.”

It looks like a new king with a new heart to me. WOW!!! God can and will have His way in the hearts of kings and paupers and the common man, and woman.

Christmas Day 6

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want all of those who claim to be “Christian” to love God’s Word, believe His Word and live, in the power of His Spirit, what He teaches us; remembering these things; “To love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves;” and also this “To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God”.

Christmas Day Seventy and Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to wear the clothing  of the mind of Christ which include tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing others, and forgiving any who may offend me.

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:12-13 (KJV)

For further study on this topic follow this link.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Forty and Nine

“For thus says the High and Lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid Me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.'” Isaiah 57:15-18 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas today?

To always remember, to recognize the One who alone, is the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity; and that He inhabits it with those who are of a humble and contrite spirit, and who do not exalt themselves, or politics, or parties, or platforms over Him; I want the world to know this One who loved all the fallen human race so much He sent, He gave His only Son, that whoever will believe on Him will not perish, but have eternal life, and inhabit eternity with Him.

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Ninety and Eight

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (KJV)

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the “kingdom of heaven” to be mine through Jesus Christ my Lord; to be so dependent upon Him that there is no pride, arrogance, or selfish bone in me.

This morning I wrote of this verse in my journal;

Those who have no rebelling spirit against God and right; those who humble themselves  before God and the holy; those who realize their purpose in life is to give glory to God, the One who made all things.

Christmas Day Two Hundred Twenty and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to walk with God, so that others may see His Son Jesus Christ living in me.

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV)

“This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9 (NKJV)

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

Also see Genesis 5:22-24;

Christmas Day Two Hundred Forty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

I want my heart to be humble before God, my mouth to be silent about things too profound for me that I do not understand, and that my hope, and strength might always be in the LORD through His Son Jesus – God the Son.

LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.” Psalm 131:1-3 (KJV)

Day Two Hundred Fifty and Eight

Everyday as Christmas.

What do I want for Christmas?

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

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

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

 

Day Three Hundred and Thirteen

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with the LORD Almighty; and I want that for all who follow Jesus; and if you do not, that you will.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:26

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 358

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to be more like Jesus in that I not be a “respecter of persons”, and to learn to be just, and merciful to all no matter their economic, living, health, or cultural situation in the world; to be faithful to the Lord in all situations dealing with them.

“My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.” James 2:1ff

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Humble Yourself Before the King of Heaven

For the most part chapter four of Daniel is the writing of Nebuchadnezzar, sharing his personal testimony of a tragic, yet humbling, and redeeming time of his life and reign as king of Babylon. He had grown proud and arrogant (4:28-30), and the King of heaven brought him down.

The following are the final words of Nebuchadnezzar in the testimony he shares:

“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” Daniel 4:37 (KJV)

Pride is one of the abominations which God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19); called “a proud look”, and the king of Babylon had it. It is a dangerous thing to try and exalt oneself above the word, and words of God. The LORD had given Nebuchadnezzar warning through a dream of a tree being cut down; but he did not listen to it; he did not fear the word of the LORD.

How about you today? Is there a arrogant, proud mind, and heart where you are saying to yourself; “I am a self-made man. I do not need God.” That is the height of arrogance and pride. Every man and woman needs God, His mercy and His grace. He is offering it to you today through the cross of Jesus Christ His holy Son. Believe Him today. Humble yourself before God, and He will lift you up (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 1 Peter 5:5-7).

Humble yourself before God; and He will not need to abase you. Honor the King of Heaven with your life.

For Your Father’s Sake

“Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” 2 Samuel 9:6-8 (KJV)

The son of Jonathan; David’s best and dearest friend; comes before David the king at his direction, and bows before him in fear and out of humility.

The king’s first word, after speaking his name is, “Fear not…”. Mephibosheth is crippled from a childhood accident while being carried by an adult (2 Samuel 4:4), fell and left him crippled. He sees himself as unworthy of the king’s attention; a dead dog.

In this moment is seen the mercy and grace of God. David knew of these. He himself was a recipient of both. He displays them both. In the name of Jonathan he gives all the lands back to Mephibosheth which had belonged to Saul.

O, the grace and mercy of God shown to us through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God. In His name, for His name’s sake we are made “joint heirs with Him” (Romans 8:17).

Bow down Thine ear…

“Bow down Thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.” Psalm 86:1 (KJV)

A prayer, a Psalm of David; he humbles himself before the LORD in a time of need.

As should any child of God; but also any who realize they are outside the will of God, and will humble themselves before the Potentate of all of life.

God will hear the prayer of the humble.  He has no ear for hearing the self sufficient, the arrogant, the proud; for they are holding on to the iniquity of their hearts (Psalm 66:18).

If you will notice the position of David’s heart.  He sees himself as “Poor” and “Needy”.  His greatest need; as is mine and yours is God Himself.  He has given us Jesus, and His death on the cross that we might come to Him.  It is the only way.  So come.

Day 82 – Spiritual Blessings

It could be said probably, that, everybody likes a blessing.  Those who do not believe in God, however, may not call it “Blessing”.  What would you have to be thankful for?  Who would you thank?  I do not have the answer.  My reading this morning was reading through Ephesians and Philippians.  Two Epistles [Letters] written by the apostle Paul with words of encouragement to the church of Ephesus and the church of Philippi.

To Ephesus Paul writes,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…” Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)

It is one thing to bless God with words, such as the apostle does above; but how are we at blessing Him with our lives too.  Both are a part of the faithful Christian’s life.  We are to bless God by remembering His blessings to and upon us.

While Paul is addressing “Spiritual blessings” which involve the things that are in the following verses; “He has chosen us in Him”,  “Predestinated us unto the adoption of children…”,  “…We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…”.  He goes on and includes “…an inheritance”, and that “Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise…”.  The spiritual blessings go on and on.

Those spiritual blessing work themselves out into living in this world and life.  If we do not live with these spiritual blessings; having thankfulness for them, then, we will most likely be a negative, bitter, envious, carnal individual; probably not a true Christian.  Do you realize your spiritual blessings?  Are you thankful for them?  Particularly for the grace given to us by the Father, putting His own Son to death on the cross, and raising Him again bodily from the grave?

In Ephesians we are told about grace.  It is by grace we are saved; plus nothing, minus nothing.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10

In chapter five we are admonished to “…Be filled with the Spirit”, not spirits; how husbands and wives are to respect and love one another, especially how the husband is love his wife as Christ loves the church, and gave Himself for her.  Children are to obey their parents, parents are not to “Provoke” their children (chapter 6).  Servants, even employees, are to serve their bosses as though they are serving Christ.

In Philippians we see that Jesus Christ was a man of humility; humbling Himself even to the death of the cross;

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8 (KJV)

It is one of the greatest spiritual blessings to know the God/Man who came to be with us and without sin, offer His life as an atonement for our sin, that we might be like Him.  Because of Him we have great cause for rejoicing, which the apostle addresses in the letter (4:4).

Let me end with just a note concerning the passing of a man of God.  Charles Colson who was the founder of Prison Fellowship and aided in many prison reforms; and many men and women coming to faith in Christ who were in prison; has gone home to be with Jesus.  Reading his book “Born Again” was a blessing to me.  I have also read several of his other books.   Thank God for men such as Charles Colson who devote their lives to the name and cause of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

King Jesus and Children

Children are precious.  It still boggles the mind, for me, to hear of people abusing children, whether it is physically in anger or sexual molestation.  That also causes me to get a “little” angry down inside.  To think a “mature” individual could do harm to a child is beyond my understanding.

Children are trusting, caring, unless they have their minds twisted by twisted adults.  Don’t take me wrong; I am not saying children are perfect, but they are young, dependent upon those who are mature, and trust them with their welfare.

Jesus the King loved children and he calls them to Himself.  We see an example of that in Matthew’s gospel,

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”  Matthew 18:2-5 (KJV)

In verse one the disciples had come to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  That is the question many are asking today.  Maybe not with words, but in their actions and behavior.  Government actions offering more money for their state if they will go along with one thing or another.  Men offering their wives more money to stay with them rather than going public with a divorce.  Police taking money to turn their heads at crime.  It all has to do with someone being the “greatest” in their kingdom.

Upon hearing the question Jesus calls a child to Himself, set this child in the middle of them all and proceeded to tell them who was the greatest.  His answers violates the answers that the world system offers us.  “Boast of your personal assets and abilities”.  That is what the world wants of you  and I.

However consider Jesus’s words, “Except you be converted, and become as little children…”  There must be a life changing event that has happened in your life which has changed you; particularly becoming a loving/obedient follower of Jesus Christ; and that will give you the heart of a child.  Children are loving, trusting, humble; having no personal accomplishments, no real life achievements, in which to commend themselves.

When one is truly converted to Christ they lay all the self accomplishments aside, all their failures, all their sins are put away.  The life of faith is growing to become more childlike in faith.  In the physical world we grow from childhood to maturity; at least that’s the idea.  In the life of Christ we go from being mature in ourselves to growing in childlike faith.  From maturity to childhood.

That may sound a bit backwards for some, however, that is the way we are to grow.  Into completely trusting our Lord and Savior.

The ones who have this type of faith are the only ones who will even enter the kingdom of heaven.

Put aside, lay aside your achievements and personal accomplishments, and trust the King of kings and Lord of lords who has given His life on the cross for our sins.  You can trust Him for your needs.  Your greatest need is salvation from the condemnation of this world and sin.  Jesus has made the only way possible for salvation.

“Whosoever  calls on the name of the LORD  shall be saved” (Romans 10:13)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Psalm 109:9

“Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.” Psalms 109:9 (KJV)

From the TREASURY OF DAVID and Psalm 109 commentary –

“Those who regard a sort of effeminate benevolence to to all creatures alike as the acme of virtue are very much in favour with this degenerate age; these look for the salvation of the damned, and even pray for the restoration of the devil.”

from verse 9

“To us it seems better to agree with God’s curses than with the devil’s blessings; and when at any time our heart kicks against the terrors of the Lord we take it as proof of our need of greater humbling, and confess our sin before our God.”

from verse 9 as well.
-T.A.

The Work of Intercession

The Work of Intercession

“And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” Genesis 18:23-33 (KJV)

The word “Intercession” means, according to the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY, “1: MEDIATION 2: Prayer or petition in favor of another.” The word is not used in these verses of our text, and according to some hermeneutical professionals we are not allowed to use it in the discussion of the text either. That may be a bit of an overstatement, but it can get quite picky with some folks at times.

When Abraham heard of the condition of Sodom and in particular Lot, His nephew, he began to petition the Lord concerning the city. That was the place where Lot had chosen. Remember Lot had lifted up his own eyes and determined the place he wanted by its richness, and the way it appeared to be already blessed; but he did not determine by the conditions of the hearts of the people who lived there. There are many professing Christians of our day who see what they think is a “Mission field”, they may have their heart truly on seeing the conversion of the people, but they can, if not very careful find themselves in a situation similar to Lot’s. They had best be very strong in the Word of God and faith of Christ, and guard their own hearts concerning the teachings and beliefs of the group of people to whom they are witnessing. Too many times “Christians” have turned away from their faith in acceptance of the beliefs of others. No, they may not accept the belief of that group, but they begin thinking that they are okay with God, they believe something. In doing that they have turned from the faith of God.

Whatever Lot’s motive for going to Sodom, and the cities of the plain, he had soon lost sight of the situation. Lot would have been in a desperate situation were it not for the grace of God. Nowhere in our text does Abraham even mention Lot, or his family. It is for the people. The Intercessor begins pleading for the people, believing in the righteousness of God, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” That is really where true intercessory prayer begins; ie., with God. It is He who is offended by wickedness. It is He who will deal with the wicked. It is God who must be approached, petitioned, and given requests from the heart. It should also be done for His name sake. In Abraham’s prayer/petition he addresses the righteousness of God. The Intercessor is not as concerned for the outcome of the wicked as he is the outcome of the appearance of God’s righteousness. Too much prayer is done in the name of the one praying – that meaning; give me what I want- and when we pray in His name we pray as He wants and directs.

Intercessory Prayer is best defined as To plead with God in behalf of others. Even to provide a wall between God’s judgment and the lost, the sick, the backsliden, etc. In Ezekiel 22:30 we read, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV). Intercessory Prayer can be seen as the power of God at work in His child, and a release of that power in the one for whom intercession is given.

When Abraham prayed for Sodom he received more than what he asked for. It was by the sheer mercy and grace of God, that Lot, and his two daughters were delivered (See Genesis 19:15-29). It seems that in Abraham’s prayer at the beginning he may have thought in the time Lot had been in the valley, with the people, having developed a name for himself, that there might just be more than the family. Sadly, there were not, and Abraham gets all the way down to the number of ten, stops, and the LORD says, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” We know there were not ten righteous people living in Sodom. In our eyes we would not even have called Lot righteous, nor his daughters. It is by the mercy and grace of God that Lot and his daughters were saved. The city was not spared, but Lot was; after being forced to leave.

It could be asked, What is the purpose of intercession? To that we would find the answer throughout the pages of Scripture; to be; to exalt the justice and righteousness of God in the intercessor. This first of all shows us that the heart of Abraham was set firmly on God, and not on having his own way. The highest act of prayer is to depend upon the will of God being done, and that was at the heart of Abraham’s prayer. Another thing concerning the purpose of intercession is to plead God’s mercy in behalf of others (vv. 24-32) and in James 5:13-20 we see prayer being offered for things such as sickness, forgiveness, afflictions, calling for the elders to pray, and even praying for rain or no rain. One other purpose for intercession would be to know and receive the will of God concerning unholy practices. The Word of God tells us to avoid the unholy, but sometimes there may be some things that are not really clear; so we must seek for guidance. Most likely if you must pray to find out it is probably not good or right.

There are results we receive from intercessory prayer. The first one is the intercessor will accept God’s will for how it turns out. The heart of the intercessor will be at rest with God. The Lord’s “Place” and the intercessor’s “Place” is much the same “Place”. People are saved and God’s justice, righteousness, and holiness is fulfilled and done. The intercessor will have and put greater trust in the Lord.

There is really no great secret in being an Intercessor for others. The secret is revealed in the pages of God’s Word, and they are seen in these verses of our text. First, to know God, and to be known by God (v. 19); Abraham was known by God and he knew God, ie., he had a personal relationship with Him. To know God means we know His heart, His thoughts, His righteousness, His holiness, His justice, and we don’t want to do anything to offend these. To be known by God is the best. When He knows you He will never cast you out of His presence. He knows you as His own. Secondly, to know His secrets (v. 17), and in John 15:13-15 we read, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”; and in Amos 3:7 it is written, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”; and in Psalm 25:14 the Psalmist has written, ” The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.”. A third matter of being an intercessor is you have a burden to share (v. 23), and you are caring for what the will of the Lord is concerning others, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV). Last of all; but this list is not exhaustive; is the intercessor is of humble spirit. Always humble before the Lord, never seeking their own, always jealous for the Lord’s will, and not that of the flesh (v. 27). The truly humble are lifting up the name of the Lord, and never notice their own humility. It is of a genuine heart and pure motive.

You will notice in the final verse of our text, “And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” This shows us the LORD was pleased with His time with Abraham, and Abraham was content to leave the outcome in the LORD’s hands. When we cannot sleep at night because of fear for the one we pray, it is because we have not gained peace in the matter. We have not trusted it to the LORD’s hands and will. It is quite possible that we fear our desire and will is not going to be done. That was not true of Abraham or God in this case. Nor, should it ever be in ours.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Invitation From Jesus

The King’s Personal Invitation

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30 (KJV)

After pronouncing “Woe” on three cities Jesus extends an invitation. One of the things that people will answer in most lands ruled by a monarchy is an invitation from the king. If one refuses to answer the kings invitation they are expressing pride, and dishonoring the king. In such a case the king would not look very favorably upon such a person or his household.

There are some prerequisites of the King’s invitation. First of all you must be humble as a child (vv. 25-26). King Jesus is thankful that the prideful are blind to the truth. These are full of pride (the scribes and Pharisees), because of their knowledge and personal works. God is not delighted with sacrifice at the expense of a broken and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:16-17). Children are humble and dependent. This shows us that God is sovereign and that the power of salvation is solely His. He hides His truth from the prideful, ie. prideful in their education, their works, thinking that they have achieved these things, and God owes them for their efforts and accomplishments. God reveals the truths to those who are humble, and know they receive what they receive by God’s mercy and grace. There is no place in Heaven for someone walking around on or in his/her own merit (Ephesians 2:8-10). Heaven is the place of God’s own glory. There is no room for any other. Child like faith is good in God’s sight. Imagine, they have fallen from His glory (Romans 3:23), yet proceed to take it for themselves. The devil was cast out of Heaven because of his prideful attempt (Isaiah 14:12-14).

The second prerequisite is to recognize the revelation is God’s to give (v. 27). God has given “all things” to His Son. It is at the Son’s discretion who will know Him. It is also at His discretion who will know the Father. One cannot know the Father without knowing the Son. Revelation of God is given through His Son Jesus. We see by this that a pride filled individual cannot just decide he wants to know God, and thus know Him. Many times God works through situations and circumstances to humble the prideful. To break their prideful, self-seeking, selfish lifestyles; to remind them that there is a Sovereign God to whom every soul must give an account. The initiative is God’s not man’s (John 6:44). If there is no conviction of sin, and its destruction there is no revelation. If there is no belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus there is no revelation. God pity the soul who receives revelation, yet is without repentance.

There is the need for faith (v. 28a). “…Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is , and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV). Coming to Him believe that He is capable of receiving us. Faith is the gift of God, and without it, there is no pleasing God. Faith believes that which cannot be seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted – at least in the physical sense. Our coming to Christ must be with the faith of a child. For some that will be difficult, because of knowledge, education, and just out in out pride. Just as a child trust their parents for sustenance, protection, loving and caring; so to must the man, woman, boy or girl trust Christ Jesus for the greatest need of mankind. We must trust Him for deliverance from sin, death, and/or eternal separation from God. We trust Him for our sustenance, protection, salvation, and eternity. When you reach the place you realize you are too weak from carrying that load of guilt, and you cannot find comfort from the load of sin you have been bearing, and you have fallen beneath that load; Jesus’s invitation is “Come unto Me…, and I will give you rest.”. You can rest in Him alone for your eternal salvation, and in Him you will have eternal joy in the presence of God the Father.

These “prerequisites” are needs that come with the grace given and received. Another one is repentance (v. 28b). Repentance is a one hundred and eighty degree turn around. You were on the road to disaster, on a slippery hope to destruction, and you decided to turn around and go the other way. In the case of God and repentance, He is the One who opens the eyes of sinful individuals, causes them to see their plight if they continue the way they are going, and also shows them the cross of Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection. If you keep going straight ahead you lose eternally. If you turn around by faith you live eternally. People are on a quest for fulfillment, and think they can find it in material gain. Those who realize that material gain is not the answer, but refuse Jesus, sometimes get into mystic religions, and cults which deny Jesus and His deity, and exalt the self, and to their eternal detriment. All of those things which lead away from Jesus are going the same direction as the seeking of material gain. There is only rest for your soul as you yield to Jesus Christ. When He calls us to “Take My yoke upon you…” He is asking us to join in His work. His work is the work of the Father, and we cannot do it except through Him. Doing God’s work requires that we do it His way, and His way is by Jesus Christ. Genuine faith and repentance are necessary alliances of salvation/rest. Faith without repentace is dead. Repentance without faith is purposeless.

Finally, for one to be a disciple of Jesus Christ we must be submissive to His teaching and training. He gives us command to take His yoke (v. 29) to learn of Him, to serve with Him, and this is what is called discipleship. Every soul who is won to Christ needs teaching and training to grow and be more Christlike. We know that His commands are not grievous or burdensome: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” 1 John 5:3 (NKJV). The Pharisees, and lawyers had heaped a grievous burden of law on the people making traditions law. They were heavy with no fulfillment. With they yoke of Jesus He is alongside us. Another name for the Holy Spirit – as “Comforter” (John 14:16) – is “Parakletos” meaning alongside of, or intercessor, consoler. He is Jesus within us as our Teacher, Comforter, Encourager, and Guide (John 16:7, 13-14). Don’t let anyone deceive you the life ahead even with Christ as your Lord and Savior will not be easy. It is not a promise to an easy road ahead. He is promising that He will remain with you, even in you through all of life’s ups and downs. In Him you are accepted. You can lay all your sins, transgressions, and the guilt that goes with it at His feet, and He will never let you down. His love abides forever.

-by Tim A. Blankenship