The Fashion of His Countenance

“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and his raiment white and glistering.  And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw His glory, and the two men that stood with Him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from Him, Peter said unto Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias:’ not knowing what he said.
While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.  And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying,
‘This is My beloved Son: hear Him.’
And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.”  Luke 9:28-36  (KJB)

Let us hear from F. B. Meyer, and what he has written on this glorious scene of our blessed Savior…

“From some aspects this was the highest point in our Savior’s earthly career. He was the second Adam and had not sinned. There was no reason, therefore, that He should die. He might in a moment have been changed; that which was mortal might have been swallowed up of life. The door through which Moses and Elijah had come stood open, and by it our Lord might have returned. But He could never, under those circumstances, have been the Savior of mankind. He knew this, so He turned His back on the joy set before Him and set His face toward Calvary.
Moses came as representing the Law; and Elijah, the Prophets. Each of these great departments of divine revelation had anticipated His coming, Luk_24:27; Luk_24:44. As stars fade in the sunrise, so their mission was now merged in Him. They spoke of His decease, literally, His exodus, and it was from this that Peter caught the term which he applied to his own death, 2Pe_1:15. The Apostles never forgot this manifestation of the glory of the Lord, 1Jn_1:1-4; 2Pe_1:17. When you hear that Christ is the Beloved of God, remember Eph_1:6.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY – F.B. Meyer

To the Hypocrite, Religious Leaders

“Serpents, generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33

These words spoken by Jesus is from the heart of the God-Man Jesus Christ.  They are spoken through most of the twenty third chapter of Matthew.  He calls them, serpents, vipers, hypocrites at least nine times.  Now He tells them they speak poisonous words.  They bind people in legalism, and make their converts more a child of hell than themselves (v. 15).

O how we as pastors and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  O how all of those who are born again need to realize that in Christ Jesus we have been made free from the demands of the law, because the law is within our hearts and minds to do it.

From the Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 23:33…

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers; γεννηìματα ἐχιδνῶν: offspring of vipers. Our Lord repeats the Baptist’s denunciation (Mat_3:7). They were of devilish nature, inherited from their very birth the disposition and character of Satan. So Christ said on another occasion, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth” (Joh_8:44). How can ye escape? Πῶς φυìγητε; the deliberative conjunctive, How shall ye escape? Quo mode fugietis? (Vulgate). There is no emphasis on “can” in the Authorized Version. What hope is there now of your repentance? Can anything soften the hardness of your hearts? The Baptist had spoken more hopefully, “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” But now the day of grace is past; the sin against the Holy Ghost is committed; there remaineth only the fearful looking for of judgment.
The damnation of hell; literally, the judgment of Gehenna; judicio Gehennae (Vulgate); i.e. the sentence that condemns to eternal death (Mat_5:22). The phrase is common in the rabbinical writings (see Lightfoot). “Before sinning, we ought to fear lest it be the filling up; after sinning, we should trust in a truly Christian hope that it is not, and repent. This is the only means to escape the damnation of hell; but how rare is this grace after a pharisaical life!” (Quesnel). Hypocrisy is a bar to repentance.”

May hypocrisy be cast out of my heart. May hypocrisy be the enemy of my heart, my mind, and my life.  May hypocrisy be cast out and trod under our feet.

Standing Strong At The Trial of Faith

“And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.  But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and men.” Acts 24:12-16  (KJB)

The Kingdom of God

“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him. And He said unto them, ‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.’” Luke 16:14-17  (KJB)

Be blessed today reading God’s Holy Bible, His Word to us today; which shows the way to Himself, and to life eternal.

Beware of the Hypocrite Authorities

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.’
” Matthew 23:1-12  (KJB)

The “Seat of Moses'” was the authority given to the teachers of the Law of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  These teachers had the responsibility to teach it.  They were responsible for being able to quote it without reading it.  They need to be applauded for the work of memory required to do that. However, they laid a load of condemnation on their people, and did little of nothing for their own holiness, and sanctification.

Most of the good works they did was for popularity with the people; to be seen of them. They sought the higher places to be seen of men.

Jesus tells His disciples, the multitude, and us, “Do what they teach according to the Law of Moses; but do not as the Pharisees do.”  Instead of exalting God; they exalted themselves.

As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ we are to live to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we exalt Him we exalt the Father.

Believe Him

Not the End; The Fulfillment

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
  Matthew 5:17-20  (KJB)

Remember this you who make an end of the Law and the Prophets.  These are the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount

What Gift?

Just some thoughts from these sermon notes:

What Gift?

Matthew 5:21-26

OLD LAW – Concerning murder; meaning Pre-meditated having to do with planning before hand with malice and forethought.

ANGER – Leading to hatred. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”1 John 3:14-15 (KJV).

GIFT – A gift is above the requirements of the law;

– A gift is given, usually in sacrifice;

– When giving God a “Gift”, and realizing your offense/debt to another: leave the gift at the altar, then go and pay the debt.

TERMS/AGREEMENT – Do it with haste;

– First with God;

– Second, with brethren, and with your fellow man when possible;

– Only when in right fellowship with God can there be right fellowship with brethren;

– It is also possible, that if we be out of fellowship with brethren, we are out with God too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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.

The Law, the Warfare, and the Victory

THE LAW, THE WARFARE, AND THE VICTORY

Romans 7:1-25

OUTLINE –

I. THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1-6).
II. THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7-13).
III. THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14-25).

In the book of Romans Paul speaks much about the law. The same continues to be true in chapter seven.

Those who believe that by keeping the law one can attain God’s favor are “Legalists”. A “Legalist” has a set of do’s and don’ts that he/she tries to maintain, and more often expects others to maintain. Instead of obtaining God’s favor, however, she/he obtains her/his own and becomes condemning to others who do not meet their standards. The “Legalist” also soon discovers some things about himself which they may or may not confess.

The Christian is not under the ‘dominion’ or rule of the law; he/she is under grace. The ‘Old law’ was written in stone. The new becomes new, now, and only because it is written in our hearts. It is no longer an obligation, duty, nor means of gaining God’s pleasure, but longing desire, and pleasure of the Christian.

THE AUTHORITY OF THE LAW (vv. 1 – 6).

“To be under the law means that I must do something for God; to be under grace means that God does something for me.”

The laws authority is over us only so long as we are unredeemed, and it is condemning us. The unredeemed man is still totally self-ruled, and the law does hold him/her in its dominion.

Paul uses an illustration of this in marriage. According to the law, when a woman is married; and this applies to men too; to a husband – or a man to wife – she/he is bound to their spouse as long as the spouse lives. If they marry someone else while the spouse is still living the man or woman commits adultery. If the spouse dies they are no longer married, and are free to marry another. Paul is not addressing the issue of divorce and/or remarriage; he is using a known and familiar law to illustrate the authority of the law.

Notice, that, nowhere does Paul say that the law is dead. Instead, he writes, “Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ.” No longer are we under the dominion – the rule, and condemnation – of the law, but under the majestic love and grace of Almighty God; Jesus Christ having lived in complete obedience to the demands of the law, and met the requirements of the law in His death on the cross. On the cross all the demands of holy God to redeem fallen mankind was finished.

Believing Jesus Christ, trusting Him we are born again. We have received a ‘New Spirit’. It is not the spirit of man, but the Spirit of God, and He revives or resurrects our spirit and empowers and enables us to walk in the Spirit, rather than trying to please God through obedience to the law.

THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW (vv. 7 – 13).

Some might think that if God never gave any laws we all would be better off. However, we would not know sin, unless there is law. The law was given for the benefit of mankind, not to harm us. Without law we would still be condemned, separated from God, and miserable.

Is the law sin? Paul writes, “God forbid”, “By no means”. Before Paul trusted Jesus he believed he was blameless before the law. He knew the words of the law forwards and backwards, and believed himself right with God, because he ‘Kept the law’ – outwardly.

The law causes sin to come into the open. It opens eyes to see how far we are from God’s expectations. Sin even increases with the law. As human beings we do not like rules and regulations; so when we know of a law instead of obeying it we see if we can get away with disobedience. Doing so increases the condemnation of the law.

The ministry of the law, then, is to show us that we are sinners; we are condemned, and fall far short of God’s expectations. When sin becomes sinful to us, then, the law has done its work.

THE INABILITY OF THE LAW (vv. 14 – 25).

Sin is enjoyed by the unredeemed. They enjoy their ‘freedom’ of living without realizing their actual blindness and bondage. They can enjoy sin until the law of God awakens them to their plight.

Even Paul enjoyed the life of a Pharisee. As a Pharisee he enjoyed the honor and respect given him by people. His ego was really sailing, because he knew the law. He prided himself in his ability to be ‘Pleasing to God’ by keeping the law.

Remember the law is good and holy. It does not cause sin, but neither can it deliver the sinner from sin.

When a person becomes a believer something amazing takes place. This redeemed individual receives a desire to walk with God – in agreement with Him. He no longer desires his own selfish way, but God’s way. He realizes that he cannot please God by doing, but only by believing.

With this reborn person a war, a struggle, if you will begins also. Although no longer under the dominion of the law the body of flesh desires sin while the mind – the will – desires God. The things my mind wants to do for God, I do not do. The things I do not want to do that are displeasing to God, I do. This struggle was not there before a person is redeemed. This is clearly a reference to a redeemed individual. She/he has a desire for what is godly, holy, and good. She/he has the desire to shun all that is evil. These are not in the life of the unredeemed.

This brings us to realize that the law is unable to redeem us; it only condemns us.

Who can deliver us from this struggle? Like Paul, “Thank God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

No Excuses

Every Mouth Stopped

Romans 3:9-20

Nature loudly proclaims that there is a Maker of all this creation. The very fact of the order of our universe declares an intelligence must have designed it all. It could not work with such precision otherwise. I write this to say that because of this no one who is has an excuse before God. If man has only the law of nature, and a conscience that teaches him right from wrong – a law in his heart – and that we, as human beings are to worship God we are responsible, and unless we believe God we shall perish.

There is, however, a greater responsibility upon those who have the written revelation of God. The Law, the Scriptures, the Word of God tells us what nature and conscience do, but also much more. We have previously seen that those without law (the written revelation) shall perish without law, and those with the law shall be judged [or perish] in the law (2:12). There are none who are guiltless. The only hope for any in repentance from sin to God for His righteousness.

IN READING THE SCRIPTURES; GOD LEAVES US NO DOUBT THAT SIN IS UNIVERSAL. (v. 9). “…Both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin…”

Is the Jew better than the pagan Gentile? Is the religious better than the Non-religious? Is the moral individual better than the immoral individual? NO! Not as far as sin and its condemnation is concerned.

In the previous chapters we have seen every level of humanity, and that we are all without excuse before God. Contrary to what any legalist may say, the Law offers no hope; it only shows us death.

WITHOUT THE REDEMPTION OF JESUS CHRIST THE WHOLE INNER BEING OF MAN IS CONTROLLED BY SIN (vv. 10-12). The mind, the heart and the will of unredeemed mankind are all under the control of sin. It is the inner being that affects the way we live our lives.

With the unredeemed mind we have no “Understanding” of God”, “…There is none that understandeth.” With the unredeemed heart, “There is none that seeketh after God”. With the unredeemed will of man, there is “None that doeth good”.

Are we to understand by the phrase “None that doeth good” that no lost, unredeemed person ever does anything good? No! It means that he/she does no good that glorifies the Lord. Nothing good that is done by an unredeemed person will affect God’s judgment of them for their good.

No one seeks God, except God seeks them first. No one has “understanding” of God until God gives them that understanding. It is all by grace, and none of you or I. God Himself, receives the glory.

The word “Righteous” means God’s standard. That is the standard we must meet if we are to gain God’s approval. That righteousness is not obtainable in ourselves. It is only obtained through faith in Jesus Christ.

The words “No, not one” is mentioned twice in three verses – ten and twelve. God says, that there is absolutely “No one” who meets His standard for righteousness. In order for us to please God we must see as He sees. We must see that sin is a stench in His nostrils. It offends His sense of holiness and purity. We most certainly must see that it separates us from Him. If we have trouble seeing the devastation sin causes in human relations and in the creation, then, there is no fellowship with God.

THESE VERSES SHOW THAT WE ARE ALL CONDEMNED FROM THE TOP OF OUR HEAD TO OUR TIPS OF OUR TOES (vv. 13-18). The mouth as all know is part of the head. The throat is the area that provides air for the ability to make sounds, and swallow food (I could not forget that part on food). Paul says that the throat of depraved man “Is an open sepulchre”, “an open tomb”. The sepulchre or tomb was a place for the buried dead. Unredeemed man is incapable of speaking words of life.

There is deceit from their tongues. Lying is a common practice of people who do not know God. Sad to say it is of some professing Christians too. If your heart is indulged in your own way, then, your words will show your own way. These will be the main mode of communication. No words will glorify the Lord. Your mouth will speaks words of life or words of death.

Christians must maintain a close fellowship with the Lord, and on a daily basis. We are to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh. No Christian can walk in the Spirit if they do not maintain a daily fellowship with God in prayer, Bible reading and study, walking with God His way.

Speaking of the feet Paul says, “Their feet are swift to shed blood”. This is because of an unredeemed heart, mind and will. Paul has a positive thing to say of the feet of those who preach the gospel (Rom. 10:25).

The real reason “…feet are swift to shed blood” is because, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” When nations, kings, rulers, citizens, and believers in Christ no longer fear God there will be no more respect for life, and Human life in particular. The love of God has been abused, misused, and misunderstood. “God is love”, but He also hates sin and will judge it. Because, God is love, He judges sin. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7).

ALL “WHO ARE UNDER THE LAW”, EVERY MOUTH STOPPED, AND “ALL THE WORLD… GUILTY” (vv. 19-20). Every man, woman, boy and girl is responsible to God for their sin. The Gentile people of the world (all who are not Hebrew” are responsible and worthy of death because they have the law of conscience and of nature. Both of these are a law declaring a holy, righteous, and all powerful God who is worthy of worship and praise. The conscience and nature condemns us.

The written law given to the Jews, was and is a clear revelation of God to man; to show man’s need for God. This written law also condemns us. It has no life of its own to save or deliver us from sin.

Let’s say your family physician tell you one day, and some of you have experienced this, “You have cancer”, and then, he tells you, “I am only your family physician, I am not a specialist, nor a surgeon”. This doctor is performing the work of the law. He cannot help you, but he will point you toward the one who can – the surgeon or specialist.

Doctor Law says, “You have sin in your life. I can’t help you, but Doctor Grace can.”

This law; written, nature, or conscience declares the righteousness of God. Because of sin we are cut off from God. Because of law we are made knowledgeable of this eternal separation.

No one has an excuse for sin. There is no amount of good deeds, religious ritual, or moral behavior that can gain God’s favor. We have God’s favor by His grace through faith. No work, but God’s work is sufficient to deliver us.

The law stops every mouth from saying, ‘I am good enough. Look at what I have done. I have been faithful in church attendance, and Sunday School. I never beat my wife or cheated my neighbor. My good deeds will out weigh my bad ones.” Jesus, Himself will say to you in that day, “I never knew you; depart from me ye worker of iniquity”.

You and I have absolutely nothing which God wants, except faith in Him. He gives us that too.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Salvation Through Works

Romans 1:1 – 7

Romans – God’s Gospel of Grace

OUTLINE OF ROMANS –
I. Introduction (vv. 1:1 – 17).
II. The sinfulness of man (vv. 1:18 – 3:20).
III. Salvation – Justification throught the righteousness of Christ (3:21 – 5:11).
IV. Death and Life with Christ and walking in the Spirit (5:12 – 8:13).
V. The fulness of the Blessing of the Gospel (8:14-39).
VI. Covenant promises of Israel are secure (Chapters 9 – 11).
VII. The life of Christian living and service (12:1 – 15:33).
VIII. Christian love in overflow (16:1-27). In verses 1 – 7 we see several things concerning the apostle Paul and our own calling.

Verse 1 – Paul was a willful slave/servant. He was appointed by God as an apostle of Jesus Christ to proclaim the gospel. He could do no other thing
To proclaim the goodness of Christ he was “Separated” unto Him for a lifetime of faithfulness and blessing.

Verse 2 – The promise of the gospel was given by all the prophets. They all foretold of a Deliverer who would come, and deliver them from their captors, but ultimately from the sin which called them into captivity.
The law would be “written in their hearts” and put in the “inward parts”. See Jeremiah 31:33-34. The gospel is also a call to all people of the earth to repent and turn to Christ (Joel 2:32).

Verse 3 – God’s Son was made flesh. Made in the likeness of men, yet without any sin. He always did those things which pleased His Father, even to the death on the cross.

Verse 4 – Jesus’s life was lived in wisdom and grace. His words were spoken from the heart of God. His miracles were done by the power of God. There was no life which came into contact with Him who was not touched in some way or other.
He spoke of His death; His disciples did not want to hear that. He said, “Destroy this temple [speaking of His body] and in three days I will rise again.” He promised He would come again. Just as He came the first time He will come again. How can we know this to be true?
By His resurrection from the dead. This confirmed every word He had spoken. The resurrection confirmed the works which He did. The power of the resurrection proved beyond any doubt for those who have eyes to see, that this is the Son of God, and glory belongs to Him alone.

Verse 5 – It is by Jesus – His death, burial and resurrection that we have received grace and calling. You are called to Him. You are called “saint” – not by some religious heirarchy, but by the God of creation Himself. It is solely by His grace we have this calling. It is by this grace alone we are called to service.

Verse 6 – You and I may not be an apostle like Paul, but we are still called by Christ Jesus to faith and eternal life, and all the blessings and spiritual gifts that go with it. Think of all that we have in Jesus. Peace with God, joy, love, patience, self control, daily filling of the Spirit of God is available for all of us; another thing is that we have the power to say “NO!” to sin, and “YES” to Christ.

Verse 7 – Remember you are called “Saint” by God Himself. Not for any good you have done, but because of the righteousness of Jesus.

Grow in this wonderful grace of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

May God bless you richly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Tall Order

Shiloah Baptist Church

The Scripture reading for today is 1 Kings 4 – 6…

“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, ‘Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.'” 1 Kings 6:11-13 (KJB)

In our text Solomon and the people were in a large building campaign of building the Temple which had been in King David’s heart to build.  It was not a commandment from God. You see nowhere where David or Solomon are given the design of it from God.  It was David’s design.  God allows its building because it was in David’s heart to always honor the LORD in…

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When There is no Rule of Law

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 17 – 19 for today…

“Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.”  Judges 19:26-27 (KJB)

It is stated at least three times in Judges that there was no king in Israel.  Chapters 19:1 and 21:25 are two of those references.  Since there was no king there was no direct human guidance for any law.  We must remember the people of Israel did have God’s law, and they had strayed in horrible fashion.

When there is no rule of law people become a a…

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Found Praying Against the Law

“Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.” Daniel 6:11-17ff (KJV)

DANIEL IS FOUND PRAYING, ACCUSED, AND CONVICTED (vv. 11-17). The spies went back to work as soon as the decree was signed. Spying on only one man it seems. What treachery and deceit.

Daniel was guilty as charged. Oh that we might be found praying. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Is there enough evidence in your life; in mine; to prove you guilty of being a Christian? If I were to die on my knees in prayer, witnessing to a lost person, or preaching from the pulpit; I could not think of a better place or way to go home to Heaven from.

These men are very persistent in getting the king to fulfill his own decree. The laws of the Medes and Persians are not altered (v. 8). What was the king to do? He tried all day to find a way out for Daniel. The king loved Daniel. Finally, with much pain of heart, disgust, and probably discontent toward himself for decreeing such a law, and toward these others the king declares Daniel guilty and sentences him to the lion’s den.

THE KING’S NIGHT OF UNEASY FASTING, SLEEPLESSNESS – AND DANIEL’S NIGHT WITH THE LIONS (vv. 18-23). Darius spent the night tormented by what he had done. He would not eat. He refused to sleep. “No musical instruments” implies he refused to sleep. The music was used to sooth a troubled soul – he refused it.

The king was probably first to the lion’s den the next morning. He cries out to Daniel. There must have been some faith there. He had some hope that Daniel was alive or he would not have called out his name. Notice the king’s testimony, “Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God whom thou servest continually able to deliver thee from the lions?” Living God; as opposed to the dead gods of the Medes and Persians.

Daniel was alive. God had sent “His angel”. Who was this? It is most likely the same one who walked in the fire with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego]. (Remember I am wanting the readers here to know there God given names). None other than the pre-incarnate Son of God. A Sunday School teacher was teaching a children’s class the story of Daniel. One little girl said she knew why Daniel was delivered from the lions. She said, “Because, the chief lion was ‘the Lion of the Tribe of Judah’”. What a wonderful answer. With Daniel in the lion’s den the lions – by God’s power – reverted back to their pre-fall condition; non meat eating, but rather eating of grass, roots, fruits and such. I can sort of imagine Daniel sitting down and one big male comes walking up to him, not growling, but purring like a kitten, brushing his side up next to Daniel’s leg. Daniel gets cold during the night and a lioness comes and lays next to him to keep him warm, and Daniel using one as a pillow on which to lay his head.

The king spends the night in a comfortable castle, with a comfortable bed – if there was such a thing in that age – but cannot sleep. Daniel rests in peace, and is warmed by the one’s who were supposed to slay him and have him for the last evening’s supper.

There was no mark or hurt found on Daniel. He was taken out of the lion’s den in the same shape as he was cast in. Most likely with a stronger faith in God now, than when he was thrown in the den.

JUDGMENT COMES ON THE SCHEMERS AND PLOTTERS; THE JEALOUS ONES (v. 24). The conspirators are judged with the same judgment that they judge – “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” Matthew 7:2 (KJV).

In the book of Esther Haman schemes to have Mordecai hanged. His scheme is revealed to the king and Haman is hanged on his own gallows. Schemers will be found out and judged. Even if they are politicians, kings or presidents.

THE KING RECOGNIZES AND YIELDS TO THE POWER OF DANIEL’S GOD (vv. 25-28). Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, makes a decree declaring Jehovah, the God of Daniel, as the only living God. His kingdom “Shall not be destroyed” as opposed to the kingdoms of men. God’s sovereignty is forever and over all that is.

Notice the final verse of chapter six. Daniel prospered during the reign of the Medes and Persians. WHY? Because of His faithfulness to God

FOUR QUALITIES OF DANIEL, THAT CHRISTIAN’S NEED IN EVERY AGE:

  1. He had a consistent attitude;

  2. He was consistent in his performance;

  3. He had a consistent purity;

  4. He was consistent in prayer.

Let us pray to be consistent in these practices, and watch God be glorified.

A life like this (the life of consistency) begins by believing in Christ Jesus through His death on the cross for our sins, His burial – carrying away our sin, our shame, our guilt, our condemnation, and death; and He was gloriously raised from the grave, and He forever lives.  Believe Him, and live with Him forever, beginning the moment you believe.

The Gospel at Work

The apostle Paul is defending himself; and it is yet to be determined what his penalty will be for preaching the gospel to the hard hearted religious leaders who hated Jesus.  Accusations are hurled of “Heresy”, and maybe to the religious Jew, with their strict adherence to the Law; it probably was.  None the less the gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth.

Hear Paul’s defense (Acts 24:10-21)…

“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:14-15 (KJV)

Paul did not deny the heresy charges, but rather confirmed what he believed concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 9:32-33).

Paul had not changed his belief’s concerning the Law and the Prophet, he had only received the One of whom the Law and the Prophets had spoken.  His name is Jesus the Messiah of Israel; and that is not what the religious establishment wanted to hear.

Thing we Christians need to realize is that no matter what kind of thing happens in our lives we must be ready to present the gospel of Jesus, without fear, favor or compromise.  On trial for our faith?  Share the gospel.  Laying in a hospital bed?  Share the gospel.  Stopped for speeding?  Respect the officer, and share the gospel.  Before the traffic court Judge?  Take your medicine, and share your faith – if not by words, at least by your actions toward the verdict.  You get the point.

Your life; whether there is a chaotic event, or no specific event in your life; is a witness.  Make it a good one.  When your life testifies to the genuineness of your faith, then share the words.

The Only Bible They Had

Several years ago I read a book by Philip Yancey titled “The Bible Jesus Read”, and it opened my eyes concerning the Scriptures.  I began looking at the Bible in a whole new way.

When we read the New Testament which is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ to mankind, we see Jesus.  The Old Testament was the only Scriptures which Jesus had, and the only Scriptures which the apostles had; because the New Testament was only a work in progress.

Many a New Testament Christian in our day wants to shun the Old Testament, and not even use it for reading, or study; however, the Christian does herself, or himself a great disservice by doing so.  Let us look at the last five verses of Acts 18…

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ.” Acts 18:24-28 (KJV)

Apollos was a Jew who was an eloquent speaker, and “Mighty in the Scriptures” meaning that he was quite familiar with them, could quote much, if not the whole of them, and defend them.  He, in our day, might have been called an “Apologists of the Scriptures”.  However, this is not about Apollos.  I want us to focus on the Person of the Scriptures.

After Priscilla, and Aquila had “Expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” then the Scriptures did a work in him, and by his greater understanding and the presence of the Holy Spirit convinced other Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

The Scriptures, the Old Testament, is about Jesus the Christ – the Messiah of Israel, the Savior of all mankind.  Some have said that you can find Jesus Christ on every page of the Old Testament.  In the Law;  In the Prophets;  In the Historical books;  In the Wisdom/Poetry books you find Jesus.

Someone put it this way:  “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”

The human author of the Revelation of Jesus Christ has written;

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”” Revelation 19:10 (NKJV)

When we read the Old Testament we read of Jesus who was to come to die for the sins of the world; then to return as a reigning King.  When we read the New Testament we read of Jesus who had come, who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and arose from the grave; and has said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself…” (John 14:3).  So, as Christians, we await His return.  Be ready by getting into the Scriptures, and grow in Him.

No Yoke

Sometimes there is strife, and arguments in the Church.  Maybe that is whey there are so many different denominations; but I think it probably goes beyond our differences.

Even in the early Church there was conflict.  Since the first members of the first Church were Jewish, having believed the Law, the Prophets, and the Wisdom literature – all of Scripture; then they had to deal with how the Gentiles fit into their beliefs.  That is what the conflict was over in Acts 15.

“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” Acts 15:6-12 (KJV)

There were some in the Jerusalem Church who were teaching that the Gentile believers which had believed needed to agree with the law of Moses, and follow Jewish practices.  The verses above are the apostles defense of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.

The Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentile believers without the Law.  Why would, or why should they be expected to be put under the “Yoke” of the Law, “…Which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear…”.

We must understand, however, that freedom from the “Yoke of the Law” does not mean freedom to sin.  Since Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried carrying sins death, condemnation, guilt, and bondage with Him; then rising from death leaving those things far away; we are free.  It does mean freedom from sin, and its yoke of bondage and death.

It is stated again in the text above.  “…We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they…”  Jews and Gentiles are saved by grace through faith in the work of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Eighty and Eight

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20 (KJV)

It would appear that the fulfilling of the “Law and the prophets” is the ultimate fulfillment of Righteousness; according to the words of Jesus.  We see that Jesus is the fulfillment, because we have no Righteousness except through Him.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the righteousness of Christ to reign in my life, so that others might see Him in me, be convicted of sin, turn from their sin to Christ, calling on His name for salvation.

There is no righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, except that of Jesus.

Day Three Hundred and Twelve

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to better understand Freedom; especially the liberty Christians have in Jesus Christ; and I want all to understand that Freedom/Liberty is not free from responsibility.

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

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Galations 5:1

Day Three Hundred and Fifteen

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to love my neighbor as I love myself.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”” Exodus 20:12-17 (NKJV)

“And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

Also see Day 317

Day Three Hundred Twenty and One

What do I want for Christmas?

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

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

Shutting Up the Kingdom of Heaven

There is something about the gospel of Christ that the worldly man, even some of the spiritual elite who hate it. Some people want, desire people to follow them, their teachings, their philosophies, and when the true gospel of Christ Jesus is presented; the death, burial and resurrection of Christ they stand against it.

One of the Communist leaders of the past said, “Religion is an opiate of the people” or something very similar to that. Sad part about that statement is is that it is mostly a true statement. Religion blinds minds, cripples thinking, and makes captives of a people who ought to be free.

Something many people need to realize is that true Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ came into the world to free us from our sin, and its condemnation; our captivity to fear. There were those in the days of Jesus Christ who would not believe the message of Christ, because it freed the people from the binding message of their religion.

Jesus said,

“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13 (KJV)

This is the beginning of seven woes announced, by Jesus, against the scribes who were teachers of the law, and the Pharisees who were a religious sect of the day. During the days of Jesus it would seem that their duty, and work was to keep people from the kingdom of God and heaven. In essence to keep their followers from following Jesus Christ.

These woes are announcements against them. They are working ruin. Religion for the most part is against Christ. Religion is the attempts of men, women, and children to try to gain God’s favor their own way; in their own personal labors. Faith in Christ Jesus is coming to God His Way trusting only in the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is for the grace of God. Grace is shown to us through the cross of Jesus. God putting on His Son all the unrighteousness, all the filth of sin, and its condemnation; and pouring His wrath on His only begotten Son. Then, when you or I look to Jesus God places on us all the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Now, all those who receive this precious, eternal gift, have eternal life with Jesus forever. Do not let the teaching of men and religion that is false keep you from the kingdom. The kingdom is Jesus Christ Himself.

In Darkness; There is Light

“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19-20 (KJV)

It seems that many of the people of God, the people of Israel were searching for answers in all the wrong places. Their hearts had grown hard and dull to the light of God’s Word, and His messengers the prophets, and the Law. They were seeking out “wizards” and “Necromancers” seeking a word for their future. This God has forbidden for His people (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10-11). King Saul was guilty of the practice with the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:8-19), and due to his rebellion and pride he was killed in battle, along with Jonathan his son, the very next day.

There is no where the people of God; and Christians of today; need to go for answers, and the truth except to the Word of God. He has given His Word of truth in the Bible. It is found from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.

Any man or woman who does not teach or preach according to what God has given us in His Word is not of God. There is no light in them. The message of the Word of God exalts the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is about Him. It is not about you. It is not about me. These things are written that all may know that He is the LORD of all the earth.

Any who speak not according to His Word; there is no light in them. They are in darkness. O perishing soul; come to the Father through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; God the Son, and the Son of God.

The Time for God to Work

“It is time for Thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void Thy law. Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:126-128 (KJV)

The heart of the Psalmist is for the LORD to work His work. To show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). We too need to see the LORD do His work.

Who are the “They” the one’s who “have made void” the law of GOD? They are the one’s who toss out the word, the law, the precepts, testimonies, commandments, judgments, and ordinances of God; and counted them product of antiquity, no longer relevant for life, culture or society.

The Psalmist says, “I love Thy commandments above gold… fine gold”. He holds them in great respect, esteem, highly regard the word of the LORD. He sees them as being right, correct in every way, and because of that he hates every false way.

It is my heart that I will love what God loves, and hate everything God hates. He does hate some things; and He loves the people of the world. He has loved so much that He gave His only begotten, holy, righteous, undefiled Son to die for our sins on the cross, was buried to carry all our sin, shame, guilt, death, and condemnation away; then He arose bodily from that grave conquering all those things that we might fellowship with Him.

Unaltered, Unbroken

“If his children forsake My law, and walk not in My judgments; if they break My statutes, and keep not My commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips.” Psalm 89:30-34 (KJV)

The Psalm has much to do with God’s promises to the Davidic line of the kingdom of Israel. Written by Ethan the Ezrahite; possibly a Levitical singer mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:43, and 15:17-19 (From the MacArthur Study Bible note on Psalm 89: Title).

One of the things that I have noticed in the study of Scripture over the years; that there is one thing that truly stands out; and that is that God loves His people, and receives us just as we are; but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are. That is why He chastises, disciplines, and corrects us.

No one of us would ever think or say that the discipline or chastisement of the LORD is a pleasant thing; no more than we would say that when our father took us out behind the wood shed that that was a pleasant thing. We learn from our Father’s chastisement; and we should be grateful for it.

Even though God chastens His children He will never forsake us. His covenant will not be broken, neither will the thing that has gone out of His lips be altered.

Something those who claim to be Christian and God’s people need to realize in our day. God, neither His Word, neither His covenant changes with the times or the seasons. He does not change to fit the culture; neither does His Word.

God’s word is sure, stedfast, relevant for the day, and it is still powerful; and every jot and tittle will be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18). Stand with God, and His Word; or fall for anything.

Confusing Laws

“The copy of the writing for a commandment to be given in every province was published unto all people, that they should be ready against that day. The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed.” Esther 3:14-15 (KJV)

The book of Esther is partly about a Jewish girl in the captivity in Shushan during the reign of Ahasuerus. The name of God is never mentioned, but let us never think that He is not seen, nor heard, nor in control of the events of the great book.

Haman is from the Amalekites who are descendants of Esau. They have hated the Hebrew people for at least a thousand (1,000) years. The Jewish people fought them from the time of their departure from Egypt, in the wilderness (Exodus 17:8-14). Haman is a descendant of Agag from 1 Samuel 15, and due to this history has a vendetta to kill and destroy the Hebrew people. He schemes and plots; after his appointment as the chief prince of the Shushan; and convinces the king to give the writing (3:11-13), and destroy, to kill all the Jewish people throughout the land.

In looking at verse 14 above; the final part of the last sentence says, “But the city of Shushan was perplexed” ie. “confused”. This was pure and simply a plot of demonic proportions. For God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Yet we will see that God is in complete control to preserve and protect His people.

The king and Haman sat down to drink, to celebrate the writing; yet the city was confused. When kings and rulers make laws that confuse the people that is a simple sign that the laws and the rules are not to benefit the people.

There is peace, there is stability, there is knowledge, and there is wisdom for the people of God; for those who follow God’s way to life.

Wake up today, and walk in the law of God. Do not trust in the edicts of men; they only lead to confusion. The way of God is through the cross of Jesus Christ. He died, was buried, and rose again. One day He is returning to take His people to His place; then returning to this earth to rid the earth of all sin and evil. Join Him by trusting in His Son and His finished work.

The Revealed Things

“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV)

There are many things which belong to God that He has not revealed to us in His word or in any other way. We have been given the things we need to know that we may obey Him and His word.

Someone has said, “It is not the things I do not understand about the Bible that causes me problems; it is the parts I do understand.” At least something similar to that, and with that I sympathize. The parts we do understand are the ones we do not practice as we ought.

So why should we spend time trying to understand the “secret things that belong unto the LORD”, and leave undone the things we do understand? That is to our shame.

God has revealed to us His Son Jesus Christ. He [Jesus] is the fulness of God revealed to creation . Let us follow Him, walk in His footsteps and by the power of His Spirit within us be like Him in our living; in our words, our walk, our witness.

The Works of the Son of God

“…Many good works have I shewed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me?   …Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, Ye are gods?’  If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, ‘Thou blasphemest;’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?  If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not.  But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”  ~Jesus (John 10:31-38)

True Judgment

“…I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. …Though I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, My judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of Myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of Me.  …Ye neither know Me, nor My Father: if ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.”  ~Jesus  (John 8:12-20)

Through the Bible in a Year – 021013

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

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.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Through the Bible in a Year – 020313

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

The Destination to Worship of GOD

Exodus 19 – 37  focus 19:1-9;  37:25-29

1.  God’s Direction and Man’s Good Intentions (19:1-9)
A.  God commands obedience in worship.
B.  Man intends worship, and fails at obedience.

2.  God Provides the Law and Commandments; Man is Religious (chapter 20:1-21)

3.  God Provides for Worship Through Sacrifice and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness (chapters 24-31)

4.  God is Gracious Through the Disobedience of His People (chapter32)

5.  God renews His Promises, and Gives Plans for the Building of the Altar of Prayer (chapter 37).

-Tim A. Blankenship

When the LORD has not Spoken

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, say unto her, ‘Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.  There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.  Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.  Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.  And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD,’ when the LORD hath not spoken.  The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.  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.  Therefore have I poured out Mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads,’ saith the Lord GOD.”  Ezekiel 22:23-31 (KJV)

There is One who stands as our hedge of protection and is the one Man who stands in the gap between God and men; the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy2:5).

-T.A.

To Know the LORD

Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law.  Israel shall cry unto Me, ‘My God, we know Thee.’  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.  They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.”  Hosea 8:1-4 (KJV)

Hosea is speaking to the people who claim to be God’s children.  Those who claim to know God, “My God, we know Thee.”  Yet, they do not keep His law.  They do not heed His word.

The LORD counts it a vile, wicked and unruly thing for those who claim to know Him, and do not obey His law, nor keep His Word.  There is judgment for those who claim to be God’s people, yet live as the people of the earth.

GOD is full of mercy and grace which is found and received only through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  Hear Him.  Believe Him.  Be saved today.

-T.A.

Day 81 – The Power of the Cross of Christ

There have been some wonderful photo shots of lightening of late.  There is a whole lot of power in each one of those bolts of light.  The  one’s who know those things could tell you how much, but I am coming up without any trivia on that except to know there is so much power that just one bolt can kill a man with one quick flash.  I know that because I had a cousin who was killed by lightening many years ago.

I am fascinated by lightening, and its power; yet I know at least  one greater Power.  He is the One who formed the Universe, and placed everything in unison, and precision.  This post is not about lightening however, it is about the power of the cross of Christ.

My reading this morning was 2 Corinthians 7 through Galations 6.

The apostle Paul had written this letter as an encouragement for their agreement with him concerning the sin of the young man of 1 Corinthians 5; his correction of the matter, and the young man’s coming around to repent, and now Paul has told them to receive the man back again into the fellowship.  He then, however, addresses another issue.

It seems that they are gullible for any persuasive teacher who might come to them with a different message –

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”  2 Corinthians 11:1-4 (KJV)

He warns them of the deception of Satan who works through false apostles and teachers (11:13-15).  It seems to me that we live in the midst of many professing Christians who are believing and falling for anything in our day; and neglecting the power of the cross of Christ.  In the final chapter of Second Corinthians the apostle exhorts them to “Examine yourselves…” –

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  13:5

Where Paul was concerned about the Corinthian church’s possibility of being deceived; we find that the Galatian church had fallen for the deception of the Jewish legalists. From May 18, 2011 through April 11, 2012 we studied the book of Galations at Carr Lane Baptist Church. Follow this link to the study notes for that Wednesday evening study.   Hear what the apostle says to the Galation church –

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.'” Galations 1:6-9 (KJV)

The Judaizers [legalists] had come in and were convincing the Gentile converts that they needed to practice Jewish law; especially the law of circumcision; or they could not be saved.  Paul is correcting this false teaching, this deceiving lie; and expressing with great conviction the power of the cross of Christ.  It is by the cross of Christ Jews and Gentiles are born again.  There is no law one needs to keep, no sacrament, no ordinance, one must keep in order to be saved.  By the cross of Christ you are saved.

The apostle has written,

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  2:20

and also we read,

 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” Galations 6:14-16 (KJV)

For anyone who adds a sacrament, an ordinance, a law, unto grace; it ceases to become grace, and becomes a debt which God owes.  God owes no man anything.  He has purchased us with the blood of His own Son.  That is the power of the cross of Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 69 – Discourse Unto Death

Christians the world wide celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ yesterday.  We often fail to remember that Jesus was more than a martyr though.  He was more than a man dying for a cause.  He was the Man sent to fulfill all the law and the prophets.  He was the God/Man sent and set to fulfill the Scriptures.

There is many a time in Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus where we read something like, “That the Scriptures might be fulfilled”, even up to His death on the cross and His resurrection.

Matthew records several discourses which Jesus spoke.  The first one was the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7).  The second was in chapter 13 and was short messages dealing with the kingdom.  One had to do with Him sending forth His disciples with the message of the kingdom (chapter 18).  The final one is called the Olivet Discourse, and deals with the last days, and His return following His death.

My reading this morning took me from Matthew 15 through 28.  Today’s reading took me a little more than an hour, and I struggled with the length, and time spent;  however, I was blessed in reading the Scriptures; especially since they were spoken by my Saviour and Lord.

In chapter 17 of Matthew we have an event that is also recorded in Mark 9 and Luke 9; and that is the event of Jesus’s  Transfiguration.  It is a meeting that takes place between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  We read,

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with Him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.’  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.’  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, ‘Arise, and be not afraid.’  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” Matthew 17:1-8 (KJV)

In the appearance of Moses we have the representative of the Law.  In the appearance of Elijah we have the representative of the Prophets.  Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, thus the voice out of the cloud which spoke was that of the Father, declaring that His Son holds all authority of the Law and the Prophets.  He says,  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.”

At this transfiguration the three disciples; Peter, James and John saw Jesus in His glorified state.  This event of itself, then with the testimony of His Father gives the disciples assurance, that this truly is the God/Man, Son of God and King of kings.  They would need to learn to trust that now was not the time for His reign, but the time of His sacrifice.

With these several discourses of Jesus He went to the cross,  presenting Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the people; laying His own life down on the cross, forsaken by the Father, buried in a borrowed tomb, rising again victoriously from that grave.  After His resurrection He gives another short discourse,

“All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”  Matthew 28:18-20

The life of Jesus the King of kings was to give His life.  In His life we have many teachings on how to live, have faith, trust, and pray.  He did not come at this time to rule, but to serve us and to die for our sins.  He did, and He rose again.  He is coming again.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 36 – Thoughts from Psalms

With my reading yesterday I ventured into the first nine Psalms.  First, let me clear some things up. When we speak of the “Book of Psalms” it is used in the plural.  If we speak of one Psalm it is “Psalm”.  Such as Psalm 1, Psalm 50,  you get the idea.  Psalms has no chapters, they are referred to as Psalms.  There are 150 Psalms in this great Bible Hymnbook.

The Psalms are written by a few different men.  David is the most noted one; then there is Moses who could have  written Psalms 90 – 100; he is noted as having written Psalm 90.  There is a possibility that Daniel wrote Psalm 137, or at least someone who had been taken captive to Babylon.  There is also a fellow by the name of Asaph who wrote some of the Psalms.

The longest Psalm is 119 having 176 verse; and the shortest Psalm is 117 having only 2 verses.

Of course it makes no difference who the human author is; they are here by the inspiration of God; and they are both a corrective instrument of God as well as words of encouragement to all who read them.  It would be great to have heard them sung from the mouths and hearts of those who wrote them.

My reading today was from Psalms 10 – 23.  I am going to rest at Psalm 19 for this post today.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.    The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.   More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.   Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”  Psalm 19:7-11 (KJV)

This Psalm of course, especially in these verses magnify the Law and Word of God.  Notice the words used to convey to us the emphasis of God’s Word.  “Law of the LORD”,  “testimony of the LORD”, “statutes of the LORD”,  “commandments of the LORD”, “fear of the LORD”, and “judgments of the LORD”.  Perfection is the word used by the psalmist speaking of the power to convert.  Its “testimony” makes the simple wise.  Its “statutes” are right and rejoices the heart.  The commandment is “pure” “enlightening the eyes”.  “The fear of the LORD is clean”, and endures forever.  His “judgments”  are true and righteous, and that makes me think of 2 Peter 1:20,

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Included verse 21.

The Word of God is more important for the Christian and their daily walk with God than are three meals of food per day, which is good for the body we abide in.

You will notice too, that the one who walks with God will find that the Word of God is desired more than gold, even the finest gold.  It is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; now that is sweet, and it is for the soul who is in a just state with God.  It can become bitter to the soul who is not righteous in God’s sight.  There is also warning for the “servant” of God; and there is “great reward” for those who keep His Word.

Jesus Christ Son of the Living God said,

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

The One whom God has sent is, of course His Son Jesus Christ, and He came to die for your sins and mine.  He died on the cross, was buried taking our sin’s guilt, and condemnation away, and arose bodily from the grave justifying those who believe Him, by the Father in Heaven.

Believe the Word of God for they are what testifies of Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 13 – The Curse of the Tree

In reading Deuteronomy 15 – 28 today I came across these familiar verses,

 “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (KJV)

To hang a man on a tree was a form of what we call “capital punishment”; an offense worthy of death.  A penalty that today is frowned on by many.  The arguments go something like this; “It doesn’t make sense to kill one human being because they killed one.”  or maybe “Violence begetteth violence.”  Some might even say “The death penalty is not for a cultured, modern, educated people.”

When we, however, consider the Word of God and His commands for the death penalty and why we can have no legitimate argument against God for this divine punishment.  God says every human being is made in His image.  There is not one who is more or less in the image of God.  For one to take a human life maliciously, with hatred, and forethought is murder; and God says this requires “Life for life”.  If the murderer is allowed to live it broadcast to the community that this life is of more value than the life that was maliciously taken.

Of course, there is also the requirement of evidence of guilt.  A murderer can only be found guilty by the testimony of at least two witnesses.  We read these things in the reading of God’s laws; as recapped in Deuteronomy, and previously in Exodus and Leviticus.

One of the things we learn from this is that each human life is valuable.  None less and none more so than another.

Now, back to “The curse of the tree”.  This verse is even mentioned in the New Testament from Paul’s epistle to the Galations;

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:'” Galations 3:13

We are all guilty of offending God, His holiness, His righteousness, and His law.  We are guilty and worthy of death.  We are just as cursed as the man who hangs on a tree.  We read, however, that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”  When Jesus Christ died on that cross [the tree] he became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and because He became the curse of sin for us; we were given His righteousness, thus we now have access to the very throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).

Through His burial the guilt and condemnation of sin was carried away; and by His resurrection He bodily arose victorious over death’s condemnation and overcame the curse of the tree.

Blessed be the name of the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 9 – The Way to Go

In our readings of Leviticus, and now into Numbers we find much law; and there; probably by some people’s accounting; is little grace.  However, I find that assessment of “little grace” hard to accept.  It is, afterall, by God’s grace that He gave us Law.

I have a couple of sets of verses we will look at today.  The first is when Moses enters into the Tabernacle;

“And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with Him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and He spake unto him.”  Numbers 7:89 (KJV)

With the building of the Tabernacle finished and set up after the direction of the LORD; Moses enters into the finished work, to hear from the Creator/Architect.  To hear the voice of the one who is Lord of all is the desire of every child of God.  Most of the time it has been the LORD who is speaking; and that is as it should be.

Far too often we want to speak, even to God; and He approved of us speaking to Him; however, it is first necessary that we listen to and hear Him.  It is His heart we need when we come to Him.  It is He who gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4); we find those desires by knowing Him, His heart, and hearing His Word.

How do we know when it is time to do something?  Say, to move from where we live, to move out of what has become called our “Comfort zone”, and into a place less comfortable, or more threatening?  We often leave it to circumstances, our feelings, or outside or inside pressure (Outside  pressure being from the people around us).  When did the children of Israel know when to pack up and leave where they were?

“And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.   Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.  At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.”  Numbers 9:21-23

By the cloud, and pillar of fire by night.  For the Christian that cloud is the Spirit of God within.  All of those things mentioned – circumstances, pressure, threatenings all play a part if we are hearing the voice of God.  Many times it might not have to be those threatenings or fearful things; if we would but hear God and go the way the Spirit of God leads.

Far too many times we try and jump ahead of God; when what He is wanting is for us to stay, grow, and prosper in Him.

When God moves we should move.  When He stops we should stop.  If we are not seeing God work, then that is God’s invitation to stop and take an assessment of our lives.  We do not force God to move, nor should we move without God’s move.  So many do, and end up discouraged, in doubt and darkness.

The way to go is the way of God through His Son Jesus Christ.  The Spirit of God in you is Christ in you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Listen Up

It is imperative that God’s people listen to Him and His Word.  We will look at Psalm 78:1 today, however I will let some of the preachers of decades, even centuries past give their exposition of this verse:

 “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.”  Psalm 78:1 (KJV)

The first is Matthew Henry,

These verses, which contain the preface to this history, show that the psalm answers the title; it is indeed Maschil—a psalm to give instruction; if we receive not the instruction it gives, it is our own fault. Here,
I. The psalmist demands attention to what he wrote (v. 1): Give ear, O my people! to my law. Some make these the psalmist’s words. David, as a king, or Asaph, in his name, as his secretary of state, or scribe to the sweet singer of Israel, here calls upon the people, as his people committed to his charge, to give ear to his law. He calls his instructions his law or edict; such was their commanding force in themselves. Every good truth, received in the light and love of it, will have the power of a law upon the conscience; yet that was not all: David was a king, and he would interpose his royal power for the edification of his people. If God, by his grace, make great men good men, they will be capable of doing more good than others, because their word will be a law to all about them, who must therefore give ear and hearken; for to what purpose is divine revelation brought our ears if we will not incline our ears to it, both humble ourselves and engage ourselves to hear it and heed it? Or the psalmist, being a prophet, speaks as God’s mouth, and so calls them his people, and demands subjection to what was said as to a law. Let him that has an ear thus hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, Rev. 2:7.

The second C. H. Spurgen from the Treasury of David,

“Give ear, O my people, to my law.” The inspired bard calls on his countrymen to give heed to his patriotic teaching. We naturally expect God’s chosen nation to be first in hearkening to his voice. When God gives his truth a tongue, and sends forth his messengers trained to declare his word with power, it is the least we can do to give them our ears and the earnest obedience of our hearts. Shall God speak, and his children refuse to hear? His teaching has the force of law, let us yield both ear and heart to it. “Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.” Give earnest attention, bow your stiff necks, lean forward to catch every syllable. We are at this day, as readers of the sacred records, bound to study them deeply, exploring their meaning, and labouring to practise their teaching. As the officer of an army commences his drill by calling for “Attention,” even so every trained soldier of Christ is called upon to give ear to his words. Men lend their ears to music, how much more then should they listen to the harmonies of the gospel; they sit enthralled in the presence of an orator, how much rather should they yield to the eloquence of heaven.

There is much in Scripture for calling the people of Christ to hear His Word and the Law.  It is necessary in days of darkness for God’s people to be enlightened, because we are people of the light, not of the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Habakkuk

 A Short Overview of Habakkuk

Habakkuk was a prophet who did not understand and the question he asked was very similar to the question many people ask today. Why does God let evil go unpunished? Why does He not rid the world of all evil?
My thoughts on a few verses –

Verses 1:1-4 – The prophet had a burden for God’s holiness. It was as though God was not hearing the prophet’s cries to vindicate His holiness. As I read these verses the wickedness of the time seems very similar to the wickedness of 2006 – 2007 in the United States and the world.

Where are the men of God crying out for God to be vindicated? I will. Is it because we understand God’s rule over all, and we know how God will be vindicated in the end? If that were only true; we would still be crying out for God to move us.

“The law is slacked” (v. 4). Certainly sounds a lot like some verdicts judges are handing down to guilty men.  A year or so ago a 50 year old man in Nebraska was convicted of sexually assaulting a child and the judge ruled that he was “too short to make it 10 years in prison” So she sentenced him to 10 years of probation.

Chapter 1:13 – It almost seems that the prophet has not yet come to realize the complete sovereignty of God. But, then, God’s sovereignty is no excuse for tolerance of evil.

He knows God’s purity and holiness, and is surprised that God can just let the sin and abuse of God’s people continue by the wicked.

Chapter 2:6, 14, 15 – It seems the prophet is really concerned that God be glorified. He sees God’s people as in need of judgment.

Some are increasing materialy at other’s expense (2:6). There seems to be an evergoing party where drunkenness is practiced and caused by the merchant of “drink” (2:15 & 16).

There are 5 “Woes” mentioned in this chapter. Verses 6, 9 12, 15, and 19

  1. “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!” (v. 6).
  2. “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house…” (v. 9).
  3. “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood…” (v. 12).
  4. “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink…” (v. 15).
  5. “Woe unto him that sayeth to the wood, ‘Awake’…” (v. 19).

Gloriously, there are also 5 promises – 1:5; 2:3, 4, 14, and 20

  1. “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (1:5).
  2. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…, though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come…” (2:3).
  3. “But the just shall live by his faith.” (2:4).
  4. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14).
  5. “But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (2:20). This has to do with the place of God, and being silent, reverent, before Him, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10).

Chapter 3 – Habakkuk’s prayer for God’s glory.

In verse 2 He asks God “Revive Thy work in the midst of the years…” and “…In wrath remember mercy”. In his prayer, the prophet has three requests. The first and third already listed, but the second one is that God manifest Himself to His people, “In the midst of the years make known” I believe referring to the ‘Reviv(ing) of Thy work…” previously mentioned. God’s glory will be revealed.

Verses 17 – 19 – The prophet, in the prayer, declares his trust will be in the LORD, even when desolate (v. 17). He declares God as his “strength” and believes the LORD to be his encouragement (vv. 18-19).

The prayer is a Psalm/Song. Note the way this chapter begins and ends “…upon Shigionoth.” Some musical instrument? The final words, “To my chief singer on my stringed instruments.”

There is much more study to do of Habakkuk. There is one thing I see that where he started with a question he ends with God.

-Tim A. Blankenship