Jesus in Genesis (4)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Revelation 19:10b  We have been Looking For Jesus in Genesis. This time we are going to see His appearance in two situations of two different people. The first is to Hagar. Some may ask, “You mean Hagar saw Jesus?” My answer will follow. The other one, of course, would be Abraham. That would not surprise us so much. Would it?

The appearance to Hagar takes place following the conception of Ishmael. Genesis 16. If you will remember the story Sarah became a little impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham, so she offers her husband her servant as a wife to have a child. When Hagar conceives she really wants to “Rub it in” with Sarah. It almost seems that Sarah mistreats Hagar, maybe even to the point of beating her, and that drives her away. Hagar had basically become quite arrogant toward Sarah, and you can hardly blame Sarah for her behavior, yet you can see the weakness and danger of more than one wife.

When Hagar fled, she probably thought for her life, an

“Angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water…” (v. 7).

This is what has been termed a “Pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ”. It certainly seems to me to be Jesus before He ever became flesh and blood human. This person is certainly more than an angel of God. He speaks in verse ten saying,

“I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (v. 10).

No angel could say that. It must of necessity be Jesus Christ the Living Word.

Hagar is believed by many to be the mother of the Arabian people, the Muslim people. If you will notice the words of Jesus to Hagar they are ones of comfort, encouragement, yet, rebuke as well. She has flaunted her pregnancy toward Sarah. She is told by the Lord to return to Sarah, “And submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:9). Hagar is given a promise for her child which would be born to her. In chapter 17 God promises Abraham that He will bless Ishmael in verse 20.

“…Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Why would Jesus reveal Himself to Hagar. Because he cared for her and the nation which would come from her and Abraham’s union. Maybe in seeing this we can start to hope that maybe there is some hope for the people of Hagar. Only as they turn to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.

The second appearance of Jesus we see comes as Abraham is at his “Tent door in the heat of the day”. He sees three men approaching. Genesis 18. He runs to meet them. I get the impression that Abraham knew who they were before He jumped up and ran to them. He bowed down before them and verse 3 says,

“…My Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant.”

Abraham offers the “Men” refreshment and food. It is quite clear that one of these “Men” is the Lord Himself. Remember how the Lord reveals Himself in the Old Testament? When He is seen in a physical form, it must be the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. How would Abraham recognize God in physical form. He knows Him personally. When you know the Lord you know His appearing and appearance. You know His voice.

It was at this time that the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, and this time Sarah heard the promise made even to her. They were going to have a son in their old age (Abraham was at this time 99 years of age and Sarah was 89), and is it any wonder that Sarah laughed. Thinking, “How can this be?”, and yet, hearing the Lord speak to them with the promise. It came from the Lord Himself, in Person, and physical form.

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”(v.14).

This was a word directly from the Lord, not from angels, not in a dream, but from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus.

“The men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” (v. 16).

The “men” headed toward Sodom on a mission of judgment. The Lord decides since Abraham is His friend, that He will reveal why the others are headed toward Sodom. In this passage of the chapter we see Abraham become an intercessor pleading for the cities of the plain. He asked the Lord to spare the city if there are only 10 righteous people in it. The Lord says He will. We know that there were not 10 righteous people in the cities, but God still dragged Abraham’s nephew Lot, Lot’s wife, and two daughters from the city before they were destroyed.

The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen through out all of Scripture. We see the manifestation of Jesus in physical form even before He became flesh and dwelt among men. We see Him to be holy, righteous, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, and Unchanging. He is the God of mercy, love and grace.

Jesus in Genesis (3)

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (3)

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed him [Abram], and said, ‘Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth: And blesssed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:18-20).

We can see Jesus on every page of Scripture when we have the heart for Him. We have seen Him in creation. We have seen Him in the fall of Adam and Eve, and in God’s provision for them through the death of the victims of that first sin of rebellion. Now I want us to see a shadow of Christ in the person who is named above. That is Melchizedek, king of Salem.. Just who is this king of Salem. He is a mysterious character who is mentioned only about three times in all of Scripture. He is first mentioned in the above text. He is mentioned again in Psalm 110:4, and then, there is practically a whole chapter in the book of Hebrews dealing with him. He is a shadow of Jesus in His priesthood.

Jesus’ priesthood is not after that of the Levitical system. He is like that of Melchizedek whose priesthood was unchanging.

The Levitical system required a changing priesthood. Hebrews speaking of Melchizedek says,

“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” Hebrews 7:3

Let me try and make this as simple and easy to understand as I possibly can.

The system of the Levitical priest required a continuing offering for sacrifice. The priests had daily duties to fulfill for themselves, and for the people concerning their sins. Daily they would offer a burnt offering at the altar of burnt offering, wash their hands and feet at the brass laver, then proceed to the lampstand (Menorah) making sure there was plenty of oil, and then putting fresh bread on the table of showbread, and keeping the altar of incense fragrant before Holy God. It was a daily task. Once each year the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat, which served as a cover for the Ark of the covenant. Now, I do not know about you, but it would have been very difficult for me to remember all of that ritual ceremony. It would have been amazing just to get out of the tabernacle alive. Daily offerings, daily sacrifices, daily ministry in the holy place, and no place to rest. That is right there is no place to sit down. The duties of the Levitical priesthood was never finished. There was also a change which happened within the priesthood. There would be a new priest ever so often.

The priesthood of Melchizedek was eternal in type, because there is no genealogy for him – “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life…”. It is my opinion that there is no record of Melchizedek’s lineage for this specific purpose – Scriptures are inspired by God. He gave us what we needed to know.

He was a Gentile, because there were no Jewish people as of yet. He is said to be the Priest of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth. He was appointed a priest by God.

It is a promise given to the Son of God,

“The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4).

The Priesthood of Jesus is unchanging.

“…But this man [Jesus], because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them…” (Hebrews 7:24-25).

Jesus finished the work of salvation. He has entered the Holy of Holies. The veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom to show us that, now there is a way to God. This happened as Jesus became the sacrifice for sin, died, taking the wrath of the Father for the judgment of sin. This was what all the sacrifices of the lambs, goats, bulls, red heifers, doves, and unleavened cakes were about. Jesus fulfilled the demands of the law.

When the sacrifice was finished and Jesus was in the Most Holy Place He sat down. That is why, “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin…” (Hebrews 10:26). When you have trusted Jesus the work for salvation is done. How do we know Jesus sat down? When Stephen was being killed by the angry mob, we see Him “standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56), which in my thinking means, that before the event with Stephen, He would have been seated at God’s right hand.

There is so much more that could be written of Melchizedek and his being a shadow of Jesus, but I will not attempt to go any further. Trusting Jesus and His finished work on the cross will give you an unchanging Priest, who cares for you, who intercedes for you, and will see that you will spend eternity with Him.

Jesus in Genesis (2)

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (2)

“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10c).

Can Jesus and the gospel be found in the Old Testament? It is my declaration that He can and that the gospel is there as well.

Look in Genesis 3. This is the chapter of the fall of man and sin entering into the world. After the sin of Adam and Eve we find God’s declarations to the serpent, to Eve and last of all to Adam. Within this chapter there is a prophecy of a Savior who would come, and a type (picture, shadow) of what would take place by that Savior who would come. This is what we will look at in this post.

In God’s Word to the serpent He said (v. 15),

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”

We can see the enmity (fear, strife) between the serpent and the children of Eve. It is even present to this day. When I see a snake it causes fear in me. That is one of God’s creatures which I want absolutely nothing to do with. In my mind they are a symbol of all that is vile and wicked and evil. If you want to handle the things, you go right ahead. If it bites you you cannot blame anyone but yourself. The same thing is true of sin. When you play with sin, it will bite you, and it already has.

The seed of the woman, the one who would bruise the head of the serpent is the promised Redeemer who would come. When Eve had Cain it seems as though she expected him to be the one. There was such expectancy. It is seen in what she named him

“Cain…I have gotten a man from the Lord” (4:1).

It was not to be Cain, because he was not a man who had a heart for the things of God. This prophecy would not be fulfilled for about four thousand years. It is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. On the cross, upon which Jesus died Satan (that old serpent) “Bruised the heel” of the Seed of the woman. Upon that same cross the head of the serpent was not only “bruised” but the power of Satan was crushed, and his authority over men taken away. After the cross Jesus rose from death showing that He was indeed the Son of the living God, and God the Living Son (Romans 1:4). By that same resurrection we have the promise of eternal life.

There is also a shadow/type of the cross seen in this chapter of Genesis. In Verse 21 it says,

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

Now in the minds of some, this verse may seem very insignificant, but I do not think it will be to many who are reading this. Remember Adam and Eve had been warned by God that they would die if they ate fruit from the forbidden tree. Now they had eaten fruit from the tree, and God provided redemption for them. It was a covering for their sin. It was in the form of animal skins, and I personally believe the skins to be lamb skins. Life was taken; blood was shed. This was the first time death had come into the world, and it was God who did the killing. In this shadow of the cross there were animals put to death for the sins of these two sinners. God in his holy and righteous way provided a means of salvation which would bring salvation to the human race. To think that God in His wisdom, power, love and grace was showing us the wonderful life of Jesus Christ in providing covering for Adam and Eve. They had tried to cover themselves in fig leaves, but it was not good enough for God. The “Fig leaves” of religion, self-righteousness, good works, or ceremonial laws will never satisfy the righteousness of God. The blood or the righteous Lamb of God alone has done that.

Isn’t the love, grace and mercy of God something wonderful. It is the most wonderful knowledge that we could have. It is, in fact the most wonderful thing we could have in our lives.

Covenant Keeping GOD

“Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. And I will establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 16:60-63 (KJV)

The covenant God had given to Israel was through Abraham. Though the nation had been judged, was being judged, and would be judged some more God would not forget His covenant with Abraham.

The following is quoted from the Jeremiah Study Bible notes for the above verses:

As fierce and catastrophic as the coming judgment would be, God reiterates His commitment to Jerusalem to one day restore her, give her a new heart that would follow after God, and bring her once more to regional pre-eminence. We see here both God’s commitment to keep the covenant He had made with Abraham to give his descendants the Promised Land forever, and also His lavish grace in restoring Sodom and Samaria to Jerusalem as daughters, not sisters. God would provide atonement for Israel’s sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ His Son.

May all Christians rest in the peace of knowing that God is a Covenant keeping God. What He has said will not fail to come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Jesus Christ is coming again. Not to die, but to reign on the earth.

Words for Christian Living 061413

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?’ But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-14  (KJV)

Remember from yesterdays words; the search is over.  You no longer need to search for the word or will of God.  If you have a Bible you have the word and will of God before you.  You do not need to ascend into heaven.  You do not need to cross the oceans; unless, of course you live somewhere the word is forbidden then, you are most likely not reading this.

God’s will for you today is be saved through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; His burial by which all our sins condemnation, guilt was taken away; His bodily resurrection by which we are justified in the sight of GOD our Creator.

-Tim A. Blankenship

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

The Pleasure of the LORD

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”  Ezekiel 18:23
‘Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ saith the Lord GOD. ‘Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth,’ saith the Lord GOD: ‘wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.'”  Ezekiel 18:30-32 (KJV)

-T.A.

Music, Singing and GOD

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.  O LORD, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”  Habakkuk 3:1-2 (KJV)

There is much that could be said about music and singing and for that matter GOD.  Habakkuk, at the beginning of his prophecy was asking questions.  It was like he was blaming God for not watching over His people, protecting them, but letting the enemies of the earth run rough shod over them.

At the end of his prophecy he uses a term which is probably related to music somehow.  It is not quite clear what the meaning of “Shigionoth” is.  God, however, must enjoy music and singing; and I know that the human race enjoys it very well.  Billions of dollars have been spent on buying recordings over the past 50 years in order for us to be able to drive down the road, put in a tape, a CD, plug in an iPod, or a jump drive, and listen to our hearts content.

Yesterday morning I heard on a radio program that NASA has discovered a “Plasma ring” around our planet; and within that ring are radio waves.  Evidently NASA sent up listening devices, and recorded sounds within that Plasma ring.  It almost sounds like a form of music.  Our Creator has made the earth to sing.

For more from Habakkuk you may want to follow this link to a post from February 28, 2008 here at Fire and Hammer.

The greatest song ever sung was in the death of God’s only begotten Son dying to pay the sin debt of the human race.

-T.A.

Salvation: Provided and Kept by Him

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”  2 Timothy 1:6-12 (KJV)

If Timothy was fearful, then he fit well with the rest of us who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  It is wonderful to have someone who is not only a spiritual mentor [teacher and guide], but a father in the faith to cheer us on as Timothy had Paul.

The Salvation of God is both provided by God through the shed blood of the cross of Jesus; and kept through the glorious power of the presence of Jesus [the Holy Spirit] within.

-T.A.

Do not Neglect the Gift

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”  1 Timothy 4:14-16 (KJV)

Without getting into a speal about the gift given, this verse deals with the idea of teaching doctrine; it is at least one of  the things.  Is doctrine important in the Christian life?  Most certainly.  However, I see that there are many younger pastors and preachers who are neglecting to teach the teachings of Scripture to their people; the people they lead.

How important is doctrine? “…For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”  It is very important for the sanctification of ourselves, and the people.

-T.A.

The Christian Walk

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.  Wherefore He saith, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:5-16 (KJV)

The Christian Walk is similar to Christian Life and Living, and it is also the walk of Enoch of old, Elijah, and others.  That walk is in agreement with GOD, and His Word (Amos 3:3), and there is only one way to walk with GOD, and that is to agree with Him.

The Christian is a changed individual.  She/He will trust the Lord even when darkness seems set on derailing our walk.  We must cherish our walk with God.  Continue in it even when the way is rough, rocky, dark, and lonely.  Walk diligently, circumspectly in the Lord.

-T.A.

Reconciled By the Cross of Christ

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”  Ephesians 2:11-22 (KJV)

The only hope of the world, and its people is the cross of Jesus Christ.  It is the only means by which mankind can be or will be reconciled to God.

-T.A.

God’s Word Today 081712

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, ‘Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; ‘Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.  But I will deliver thee in that day,’ saith the LORD: ‘and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.  For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in Me,’ saith the LORD.”  Jeremiah 39:15-18 (KJV)

-T.A.

Flame of the LORD

Flame Of The LORD

2 Samuel 11:6-17

In this story of the fall of king David is also the story of a man who was faithful, to God, to his wife, to his country and to his king. In this event in the life of David, Uriah is a contrast to David, and gives those of us who aren’t born into a godly home, or godly atmosphere some hope.

It is very likely that Uriah, being a Hittite; had come to believe and trust in the God of Israel and David; and had given himself to the service of God, the people and the king. His name means, “Flame of Jah”, thus the title to the message being “Flame Of The LORD”. Oh, that the Christian of today had the fire of Uriah.

I. URIAH WAS FAITHFUL; THEY KNEW WHERE HE WAS (vv. 3, 6).

A. “It is 10-O-Clock. Do you know where your children are?”

B. Uriah was known as a good soldier, even a “mighty” soldier (23:39).
1. He is called one of David’s “thirty mighty men” (23:8-39).

C. God is faithful; He will always be faithful to His Word, His will, His children and His promises.

“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (KJV)

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck…” 1 Timothy 1:18-19 (KJV)

II. URIAH WAS OBEDIENT TO THE KING’S COMMANDMENT TO RETURN HOME (v. 7).

A. Uriah was probably wondering about the purpose of his being called back to Jerusalem.
1. He may have thought, “The king desires that I get some rest and relaxation”, but his heart had no desire for it.

B. Uriah was obedient to the king’s call.

C. Christian, let us who have been called by our King, hear His voice, do His bidding and when He calls us home do so with the earnestness of this hero of Jerusalem, Israel and Judah.
1. We can rest assured that when our King Jesus calls us to His home He will not have some devious intent in His heart and mind.

III. URIAH WAS LOYAL TO THE KING AND ALL THE OTHER SOLDIERS WHO WERE FAITHFULLY FIGHTING THE BATTLES (vv. 8-13).

A. He is not only loyal to his king, but loyal and faithful to the other soldiers who are not getting the call from the king that he received.
1. Uriah would have made a good United States Marine Corp Officer or soldier. “Semper Fi” or “Always Faithful” is the motto of the Marine Corp, and that seems to have been Uriah’s creed as well.

B. Uriah would not go home to his wife, his heart was on the welfare of the king and his troops on the field.
1. The good soldier is thinking about the safety of the others, and their leader and nation.
2. The heart of Uriah at this point in time puts the heart of king David to shame.

C. David jumped headlong into this adulterous relationship with Uriah’s wife, because he was not doing what he should have been doing.
1. The first verse of chapter eleven includes the following words, “at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah.
2. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.”

IV. URIAH IS FAITHFUL TO GOD, HIS WIFE, HIS COUNTRY AND HIS KING EVEN UNTO DEATH – CARRYING HIS OWN DEATH WARRANT (vv. 14-17).

A. King David upon realization that he would not convince Uriah to get home anytime soon; sent a death warrant by Uriah’s own hand to the General in the field – Joab.
1. Unknowingly, most likely, Uriah takes the hand written message written by the hand of the king that would cause him to die.

B. We have a Savior who was faithful to His Father; all the way to Jerusalem; all the way to Calvary; all the way to the cross; all the way to the tomb; and all the way to His glory which He had with the Father from the beginning (John 17:5).
1. We by faith in Him and His finished work on the cross put on His righteousness, His garments, and take on the characteristics which led Him to the obedient, faithful, loving life that led to His cross; His place of death and dying for the sins of the world.

C. Uriah means “Flame of Jah” or “Flame of the Lord”, and surely he was the flame of God burning in Israel when the “man after God’s own heart” had plunged into darkness of sin.

D. Oh, Christian when we see a brother or sister in Christ; who has plunged headlong into sin; whether they be a church leader, leader’s wife, or the man or woman in the pew; that is the time to be the “Flame of the LORD”. (Galations 6:1-2)
1. Stand as an example of faith and light, be faithful to God, and don’t let the darkness of sin pull you in and down.
2. Jesus said, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” Luke 12:49 (KJV). His Holy Spirit within His followers are the possessors of that Fire; and that Fire possesses us as well. Let us walk in the light of that flame.

Elijah, and the Hand of the LORD

The prophet of fire had been told by the word of the LORD that he would send rain on the earth (1 Kings 18:1), that he was to go and show himself unto Ahab.  The greatest trial of Elijah’s life had been won, the prophets of Baal defeated, and even sentenced to death, and the sentence carried out; and the rain had come, just as the LORD and the prophet had said.

“And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”  1 Kings 18:46 (KJV)

It seems to be abundantly clear by all that has came to pass, with the challenge of fire, the death of the false prophets of Baal, and the rain; that the hand of the LORD is upon Elijah.  Evidently Elijah was a very fast runner.  With Ahab in a chariot, and Elijah on foot; Elijah seems to have out run the king to the entrance of Jezreel.

We begin seeing something about Elijah that shows us that Elijah was only a man who had human flaws, just like the rest of us.  He had his moments of doubt, of fear, and feeling as though he stood alone against the mobs of Ahab and Jezebel.

Elijah coming off the greatest victory of his life; at least up to this point; faces the threats of Jezebel.  Upon hearing what Elijah had done,

“Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.” 19:2

Elijah, the man, the prophet who had the “hand of the LORD” upon him, then, runs for his life.  Not only that he begins requesting that he might die (19:4); instead of taking his life the LORD sent and angel to care for his needs; feeding him a baked cake of figs, raisins, or something else, and giving him water to drink.  My, how the prophet was being ministered unto by the LORD through an angel.  It is proof that the LORD is not finished with Elijah.  The hand of the LORD is still on him.  The angel prepared the cake and the cruse of water.

My  the power of the angel’s food, the LORD’S food.  For Elijah went forty day and forty nights in the strength of that food (19:8).  I find it fascinating that often after great victories, comes great let downs.  Fears, doubts, and just not knowing what lies ahead, can bring temporary defeat.  This was a time of renewing for Elijah.  He was hearing from the LORD.

God took him to a place where he would learn about the greatness of the LORD and His Word, again.

The hand of the LORD is on all those who put their trust in Him.  Your trust is in Him through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; His death, burial and bodily resurrection.  Believe Him, trust Him, and God’s hand will be on you for blessing and eternity.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah; Man of God

Those of us who have been involved in church and Christianity; and even some other religions know the term “Man of God”.  The basic idea behind the phrase is that a man is faithful to believing God, His Word and living it in His life.

We have seen where the “Man of God” confronted the king Ahab and told him of an absence of rainfall until he [Elijah] calls for it.  We know from the book of James that it was 3.5 years.  That is a drought.  We have read also where God provided for the prophet, the man of God, by sending him to a brook off the Jordon River, and God supplied him bread and meat until the brook dried up; and then he sent him to a widow woman with a young son; and he asked her to give him her last portion of food.  Because of the woman’s faith, she fed Elijah, and her barrel of meal never ran out; as the King James says, “Wasted not”, neither did her container of oil run dry.

While the man of God is present in the home of the widow and her son; the son dies; and the woman is very distraught.  She is like many of us.  Since the man of God is in the house and home, then, “How can such an evil and bad thing happen to us?”  Now before someone goes off on a tangent fit let me first explain that it does seem implied by the reading of 17:18;

“And she said unto Elijah, ‘What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?'” (KJV)

Remember in John 11 Lazarus a close friend of Jesus was on his death bed; Mary and Martha (Lazarus’s sisters) sent for Jesus, but he lingered where he was.  Jesus said,

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”  John 11:4

To read the rest of the event we find that Lazarus died, was buried, and had been dead four days; and Jesus calls his name and Lazarus comes out of that tomb alive.  God receives the greater glory by the resurrection of Lazarus, then by healing him of a sickness.

The resurrection of the widows son, helped the woman see more clearly that Elijah was the man of God.  She announces in the final verse of chapter 17,

“Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.”  1Kings 17:24 (KJV)

The man of God in today’s world may not raise anyone to life after being dead; at least in the physical sense.  However, the man of God will be able to clearly present the way to knowing God, having fellowship with Him, and how God declares one to be righteous.  That is by way of the cross of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and bodily resurrection.  Believe the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will experience resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 89 – Blessings and Judgment to Come

It is quite pleasant to write and to speak of blessings.  It cannot be said of Judgment.  Nevertheless, judgment is a topic which must be addressed by those dealing with truth.  Truth is more than philosophy; it is of God; because God is Truth.

My reading for today, as we near the finish line for the ninety days of reading through the Bible, was The Revelation of Jesus Christ chapters three through twelve.  Though it is in yesterday’s reading I want to point you to chapter one verse three.

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”  Revelation 1:3 (KJV)

In the beginning of the reading of the Revelation we find that our Lord’s intent is for blessing those who will take the time to read this book, hear and obey what He says, and keep them as treasures in one’s heart.  The time at hand is that of the completion of the redemption of the world.  It is more than judgment it will be the final putting down of everything that is vile, evil, and morally reprehensible.

There is blessing for all those who will read, hear, and keep the the “words of this prophecy”.  It is quite clear also that there is judgment for those who love this world and all its principalities and powers;

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  Revelation 3:10

“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Revelation 6:10

“And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, ‘Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!'” Revelation 8:13

It is  important to note that following chapter four; chapters 2 and 3 being specifically to seven churches; the Church is mentioned no more, except in chapter five around the throne of God as the “twenty four elders” (4:4;  5:8).  It is implied in chapters 21 and 22 for the Church to be in the presence of God in Heaven.

The judgment is not for those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.  The judgment coming on the world that the Revelation speaks of is for those whose hearts cannot be torn away from the riches, fame, popularity, politics, and power of this world.

Blessing is what God desires for you.  Blessing is what He has provided for all who will trust in Him, and the finished work of the cross of Christ.  Refuse Him and be judged.  Receive Him and be blessed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 88 – The Christian and Discernment

It has been said that the best way to identify a counterfeit is to really know the real thing.  It has been told to me by one who has experience as a teller that banks train them to get the feel for the real paper money, and when a counterfeit passes through their fingers it is almost immediately identified.  Do they study the counterfeit?  Not at all.  They get to know the genuine article.

There is a great illustration, even parable of sorts to that thought for the Christian.  I used to spend a lot of time studying  different religions; and I find no fault in doing so; but to use great caution, and know the true God and His Son Jesus personally.

My reading today began in the First Epistle of John the apostle; and ended with Revelation chapter 2.  The Epistles of John have been called “Love Letters” to the Christians; if they have not been, maybe they should be; because the First one is all about Christian love; first for God and His Son Jesus, and second the Christian’s love one for another.

In the First Epistle John covers much about love, loving one another, and he also deals with discernment in chapter four.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”  1 John 4:1-3 (KJV)

To hear some professing Christian leaders speak today you would think that any belief is alright, and get you to heaven; as long as you have “faith”.  John nails it down to what one believes about Jesus Christ.  There is strong implication in the above text that John is viewing Jesus as Deity “come in the flesh”.  God came down to man in the form of a man.  John says anyone teaches that is of God; if not they are not of God.  It is sad to say there are some religions, Christian cults who believe that Jesus came in the flesh and is deity; but they add to that by teaching that all of us can become Christ, and be gods.  That is a distortion of the truth.

My friends do you know Jesus, the one and only Son of God, who became flesh, dwelt among us, died for our sins, was buried, and bodily rose from the grave; and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father?  God has no other sons, but those who are born again through the blood of Jesus Christ.

In Second John he writes of the “doctrine of Jesus Christ”, and most likely is referring to His being God in flesh; warning,

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”  2 John 9-11

In Third John he writes of a man in the church who loves dominating others, even prohibiting  John even from speaking in said church;

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.  Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” 3 John 9-11

A man name of Diotrephes is the guilty party.  Sometimes it is sad to admit but there are folks who call themselves Christian and pastor, bishop or elder who endeavor to dominate other people in the church.  Diotrephes was an evil man, keeping even the apostles of Jesus Christ out of the church, and excommunicating all who favored them.

I also read Jude.  Jude is believed to have been the half brother of Jesus, though he calls himself, “The servant/slave of Jesus Christ”.  In verse 11 he writes,

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”  Jude 11

If you would like to read more study on the book of Jude follow this link.

Mentioning three Old Testament personalities in this one verse; Cain the brother of Abel whom he killed and rejecting the way of God;  Balaam who led the enemy of Israel to cause them to sin; and Korah who was a rebel along with Dathan and Abiram, against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness journey (Numbers 16).  Still we see the need for discernment in the Body of Christ.

In the Revelation of Jesus Christ chapters one and two we see Jesus revealing Himself to John the apostle while he is being held prisoner on the isle of Patmos for his faith in Christ and preaching the gospel of Christ.  Oh, if there is ever a truer presentation of who Jesus is it is here.  Jesus says to John,

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,’ saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”  Revelation 1:8

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.'” Revelation 1:10-11 (KJV)

And in verse 17 He says again, “Fear not; I am the first and the last”.  No one can honestly say that except they be the incarnate Son of God, God in flesh.  Know Jesus and you will be able to discern the true from the false.  Know the Word of God and you will know the Living Word of God.  Remember what John wrote in John 1;

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1

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

God has given us the ability, and power to be discerning; practice it for your life’s sake, for the Church’s sake; mostly for the sake of Jesus Christ Himself, and His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 83 – Living, Until Jesus Comes Again

Most of us can say we enjoy living.  Though Christians have a longing to see Jesus face to face, and that would mean leaving this life; the life we live in the here and now; we  too have a joy for living in this world and life.  That is as it should be.  My reading this morning was Colossians 1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1-5, and 2 Thessalonians 1-3.

There are many who are believing that the freedoms we have in Jesus Christ means there are no laws or rules we must obey.  What it really means to be free in Christ is that we have even greater responsibility to live right, just and holy in this world for the glory of Christ our Lord and Saviour.  We have living within us the presence of the Holy Spirit; which is Christ in us.  He lives in us to make us more like Jesus.  We are no longer free to sin; we are, however, free from sin.

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power…”  Colossians 2:8-10 (KJV)

The world we presently live in is out to pervert the gospel of Christ through the teachings of men [philosophy].  Christianity is not a philosophy; it is a life to live; a life to give; a fellowship with the One who gave His life for us.  Our lives are not our own.  Christ Jesus is the “Fulness of the Godhead bodily”.  Remember what Jesus said to Philip, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians was one about living in this world too.  In the Thessalonian letters he does address the second coming of Christ, even the rapture of the church; which I know some Christians do not believe in, or believe that Jesus has already returned; but so did some of the Thessalonians.

There are five chapters in the first letter addressed to the Church of Thessolonica.  Each chapter ends with a mention of the return of Jesus Christ,

“And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”  1 Thessalonians 1:10 (KJV)

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.”  2:19-20

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

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”  4:14-18

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”  5:23-24

In each of these letters Paul admonishes believers to live faithfully in this world.  He even addresses the issue of not working.  It would appear that some Thessalonian Christians had quit their jobs, because “Jesus was on His way” and they did not need to work anymore – so they thought.  The apostle has written,

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.  Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.  But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.   And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.  Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”  2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 (KJV)

How should we live until Christ comes?  As though His coming might be today; yet living in this world, working, faithful toward God, as though it might be a thousand years away.  Jesus’s words, were “Occupy til I come” (Luke 19:13).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 75 – Loving The Lord Unto Life

We have heard it said, “I will love the Lord, even unto death”; Peter said something similar to that; even as the Lord told him “You will deny Me three times”.

My reading this morning was in Acts 6 through chapter 15.  These events give us some details of the work of the Holy Spirit at work in people’s lives.  Even the life of a young Pharisee who was intent on killing those Christians has his life dramatically changed when he meets Jesus Christ as he is on his way to Damascus to capture, chain and return to Jerusalem with them for trial and death (Acts 9).

Stephen was one of the men who were chosen in chapter six by the church to be a servant, feeding the Greek widows among them.  Stephen was also an evangelist proclaiming the word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ and showed his love for the Lord even unto life.

Hear what Luke writes in his accounts of the work of the Spirit of God –

“And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.  Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.  And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.  Then they suborned men, which said, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.’  And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, and set up false witnesses, which said, ‘This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.’   And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”  Acts 6:8-15 (KJV)

Stephen was full of faith and power, by the Holy Spirit.  He stood strong for the gospel even though it could mean the loss of life for him.  His love for Jesus Christ and the gospel was stronger than his love for this world, and the life he now had.  He stands in chapter seven with conviction and proclaims the word of God from the Old Testament; and they fall under conviction.

Do we know what “conviction” is today?  The conviction I speak of is where you feel some guilt for your sin; and shame for your behavior; there is repentance; and you are drawn to see that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God; and that through Him alone there is forgiveness, peace and eternal life.  Sometimes this conviction, with those who hate God, will cause them to do cruel, evil and vile things; in rebellion against God and His children.  Just as it happened with Stephen.

Luke records the sermon Stephen preached, and records these final words,

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”  Acts 7:51-53

This was the final straw for this rebellious crowd.  They were “cut to the heart” then they ran upon him, and Stephen saw  “Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (v. 56).  In the home going of Stephen we can see traits of the Lord Jesus in him.  As he is being stoned by the mob he says, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (v. 59).  Then as he breathes his final breath on earth Stephen cries out with a loud voice, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (v. 60).

There is another who loved not their life unto death, and that was that young Pharisee; who has now become a Christian, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His name was Saul and he was from Tarsus.  His name became Paul and he has written 14 of the New Testament Epistles.

In a place called Lycaonia Paul and Barnabas were believed to be gods, because they had healed a crippled man, but Paul and Barnabas rejected the worship and tried to convince them they were not gods, but only men.  When some Jews came from Antioch they stoned Paul, dragged him out of the city, believing him to be dead;

“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.  Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”  Acts 14:19-20

The apostle Paul did not quit; nor did he soften the gospel message.  He got up from where they left him, went back into the city, shook the dust off his feet (Matthew 10:14;  Mark 6:11;  Luke 9:5), and went on preaching the gospel; loving the Lord unto life.

Let the Christians of our day Love the Lord unto Life.  Eternal life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 65 – Who Is Like the LORD?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Nahum we have written,

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

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

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

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

Habakkuk’s conclusion of the matter,

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 63 – A Bad Marriage and Restoration

How would you describe a “Bad Marriage”?  For some men it might be described as “Having a wife that does not do what I tell her”.  That would be domineering, power crazed husband.  To some women it could be having a husband who “doesn’t put his dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper”.  Men, how would you feel if you had an unfaithful wife?  How would you feel if every time you turned around she was hanging out at the brothel, and participating with the prostitutes?

Most men would cry “Foul!” on that one I am sure.  Women frown on a husband who takes on multiple women too.  Women like their men to be faithful too.  It is, as a matter of fact, part of the Marriage vows, to have no other.  That goes for the husband and the wife.

My reading this morning was Hosea 3 – 14 and Joel 1-3.  Hosea was a prophet who was told by God to marry “wife of whoredoms”.  Now this is a little difficult to understand seeing how God forbade his men from marrying unclean women.  However, we do see God in some places telling His prophets to do strange, and unusual things.  Isaiah was to parade “naked” through the streets (Isaiah 20).  He had Ezekiel laying on his side for several days eating food prepared with cow dung, and had first told him to use human dung (Ezekiel 4).  Now God tells Hosea to marry a whore.

Hosea is to be a picture of Israel’s departure from the LORD.  Israel has committed adultery, whoredom against God, and God in His love, mercy and grace calls out for them to come back to Him.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.   And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.”  Hosea 2:14-15 (KJV)

I realize this was not part of my reading today, but it is part of Hosea.  If you will, remember the “valley of Achor”.  It was the place where Achan had hidden contraband under his tent and brought judgment upon the nation of Israel after they had conquered Jericho (Joshua 7 and look at verse 26).  You could even say of the word “allure” above that God had in mind, “romancing” Israel back to Himself.  He has loved her with an everlasting love.  What better romance can that be?

I have heard the prophecy of Hosea referred to as the Old Testament’s “gospel of John”, particularly “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

One of the things we can see in the reading of Hosea is that God does not love blindly.  You have heard the phrase, “Love is blind”.  God’s love is not blind.  I believe it is in front of our National Justice Department that there is an statue of what is often referred to as “Lady Justice” (Probably showing my ignorance here), and it is of a woman holding scales in her hands while blind folded; giving us a picture of justice being blind.  God’s love nor justice is blind.  He loves seeing clearly the sins, faults and failures of the one He loves.  He judges justly as well without a blind fold.

That is what makes His love so powerful and wonderful.  He loves despite our sin.

God says to Israel through the prophet Hosea,

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away from him.  I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.   His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.  They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” 14:4-7

Yes!  You could say Hosea had a “Bad Marriage”, but he also followed God’s plan and restored that marriage.  It was based on open eyes, seeing clearly, and loving his bride anyway; alluring her back to himself.  What a wonderful, holy, love.

The gift of Christ on the cross is the marvelous gift of God’s wonderful love.  Jesus Christ bore our iniquities on His cross, took our sins upon Himself, and paid the price that was owed to God for our sins.  By His bodily resurrection we are justified by God forever.  You cannot find a stronger love than that.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 61 – Vision of the Glory of God

In the reading of the Bible one thing that stands out to me is that God is about His own glory.  Now for a man or woman to be about themselves we call that arrogance, pride, no good even.  Yet, for the Creator who has made all things, and seeing how He also loves the people He has made; and also seeing Him as holy, righteous, and just; we can see that He has every right, even right or power, to promote Himself.  There is no other like Him.

In my reading this morning I only read 11 chapters rather than the usual 14.  I finished the prophecy of Ezekiel.  The judgment which God brought upon Israel/Judah is due to their rebellion, worshipping false gods, erecting idols along side the only God, and the  people being downright unholy, unjust, and unrighteous with God and other people; even their own people.

In chapters 38 – 39 we read five more times, and a sixth which is not worded quite the same;

“Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 38:23 (KJV)

“And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.   So will I make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let them pollute My holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.”  39:6-7

“So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.”  39:22

“Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.”  39:28

“And thou shalt come up against My people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against My land, that the heathen may know Me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.” 38:16

Ezekiel is taken by the LORD in a vision to the city of Jerusalem and to the temple.  There he meets a man with measuring rod, and measures the city and the temple.  One of the things we can see about this is that in the worship of the LORD our worship is to be patterned after His design not of our own making.  It is measured out to give God glory, honor, power and blessing.  He will receive no worship which is not after His fashion, in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

In the vision the LORD also gives Ezekiel the land allotments for the twelve tribes, for the city, and for the temple.

The final verse of Ezekiel tells us –

“It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” 48:35

“The LORD is there”.  What a wonderful name for the place where people of all tribes, tongues and nations will be able to gather to worship the Creator of all that is; both the seen and the unseen.  He has made a way for you to be there by way of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Only through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Christ will you be able to attend and receive blessing, and rest in His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 48 – From Love to Love and Salvation – excuse me day 49

If there is one thing that the Bible declares to the follower of Christ and to any who will read it it is that God loves the world.  However, we also will find within the pages much of the fact that God is holy and righteous and will not overlook our sin.

My reading today, this morning, took me through the Song of Solomon or Song of Songs, and chapters 1 – 6 of the prophet Isaiah.  Now there is contrast.  From a love story to prophetic warnings; however, after some thought on the matter I see these chapters of Isaiah as the love of God toward His wife (Judah), warning and wooing her back to Himself; and that He will do whatever it takes to bring her back to Himself.

To be perfectly honest with you I enjoy reading the Song of Solomon, but I do not see a whole lot to say about the matter except that we can see in this love story; God’s love for His people, and when she is right with Him, her love for Him.

Here is how the young Shulamite woman feels for her groom –

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”  Song of Solomon 2:4 (KJV)

She has been taken to what she call “the banqueting house” and all she senses is his love for her.  If you will notice in reading the Song, all the words she has for her groom is love and admiration.  She adores him; and that should be what the Bride of Christ feels for Him as well.  After all He purchased us with His own blood; redeeming us from our sin and condemnation.  Should we not be loving, admiring, and adoring Him; even worshipping Him always.

One can learn much from reading the Song about how a man should love, and adore their girlfriends; and their wives.  There are several times it mentions too, about waiting for “love”; most likely referring to the sexual relationship.  Waiting for the time when there is a lifelong commitment to one another through marriage (8:4).  Marriage is about our commitment to Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32).

The prophet Isaiah was a man who loved the LORD.  He was a prophet from the nobility of his day.  The time was one of wealth and prosperity, but the people had forsaken the LORD of hosts.  They had turned to idols from the living God.  The prophet says to them –

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, ‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me.  The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider.’  Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.” Isaiah 1:3-4 (KJV)

The prophet found it difficult to see owners of oxen and donkeys able to use them for plowing, hauling things and such without any problem; the donkey and the ox being obedient to their masters commands, and guidance taps; yet the people of God did not know God in obedience; the One who had delivered them from Egypt; provided them with many judges who delivered them from tormentors and persecutors.

Yet, here too is a love story.  One of a wonderful salvation.  The prophet’s name means, “The LORD is salvation”.  The salvation of Israel is a direct result of the love of God for them.  Their salvation does not mean they are a perfect people; just a delivered people.  The same is true for the Christian of today.

It is the love of God; and the fact that He is holy and righteous; that will not allow His children to be a success at sinning.

“But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.” Isaiah 5:16

The Lord loves you today.  Christian do not continue in your sin.  Repent and obey Him.  If you are still in your sin that love has been shown to the world by the death of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, on the cross, His burial, and His bodily resurrection.  The goal for the child of God is to sin no more; and one day that will be accomplished through the return of Jesus Christ in His glory.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 48 – Trouble with Life

Who does not have troubles in life and with life.  It begins with questions.  Questions like; “Where did I come from?”;  “Why am I here?”;  “What is my purpose in living?”  There is only one place we can find the answer for those questions and that is from our Creator.

I cannot tell you the answer to those questions you will need to find them for yourself.  You might even have some of the same thoughts as Solomon in Ecclesiastes.  My reading this morning was the final three chapters of the Proverbs 29- 31, and all the chapters of Ecclesiastes.  I do not know about you, but reading Ecclesiastes can be very discouraging.  At least, up until you get to the final verses.

If you have read Ecclesiastes, and think you have the problem of life solved, then let me say this as kindly as possible –  That is the thought of a fool.

Solomon, the wisest of men who ever walked on earth never solved the problem of life, and its troubles.  I know that I cannot; and I am not going to spend a lot of time with this book trying to explain what Solomon means when he tells us “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity”.  I know vanity means “vapor”, or “breath”, and comes down to meaning, “Meaningless”.  You would not think that you would hear that coming from the mouth of a wise man, but it does.

Let me give you a word of warning.  Do not build a doctrine or belief from this book.  It raises far more questions than it substantiates; with the exception of its conclusion.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.   For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV)

The answers to life’s troubles, and questions are for you to find on your own, but let me give you a heads up.  For me and all who have eternal life, life begins with God.  You came from the mind and heart of God.  We are here to glorify God, to be His lightbearer in a dark world.  Our purpose is to love God and enjoy Him forever.

You will find the answers to these questions when you believe God, believe and trust His word and work through Christ Jesus death, burial and bodily resurrection; and submit to Him, and walk with/in Him.  Walking with and in God makes the problems of life more sensible, and bearable.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 47 – The Wisdom of Proverbs

There is much we can learn from reading the proverbs of the Bible.  I am not commenting about the verses I post today except to show them to you for your perusal, and pray you will go to the book itself, and read them.  There is much wisdom to gain by reading and applying them.

My reading today was Proverbs 15 – 28.  I post some of the verses I marked as I read.

From chapter 16 –

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

Chapter 19 –

 “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” 19:21

Chapter 20 –

“An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.”  20:21
“Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?” 20:24

From 21 –

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” 21:1
“To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” 21:3
“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” 21:5

From chapter 22 –

“The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.”  22:2
“The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor.” 22:12
“The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.” 22:13

Chapter 23 –

 “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” 23:4-5

From 24 –

“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” 24:17-18
“These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  He that saith unto the wicked, ‘Thou art righteous;’ him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.” 24:23-25

Chapter 26 –

“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” 26:12
“The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.'” 26:13
“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” 26:20-22

Chapter 27 –

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” 27:12

and the final chapter of the day 28 –

“For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.” 28:2
“To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” 28:21
“When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.” 28:28

May the wisdom of Solomon and Hezekiah lead you to a closer walk with our Creator through faith in His finished work of Calvary’s cross.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 45 – Thoughts from Psalms; Mercy

Today marks our halfway point in 90 days of reading through the bible.  We will have 45 more to go.  It has been a blessing, and a challenge.

My reading today took me from Psalm 136 through Psalm 150 finishing the reading of the Psalms, and by reading 15 Psalms today.  There is much mention of the term “Mercy” in the Bible; and in Psalm 136 it is framed in every verse; with the phrase, “For His mercy endureth forever”.  And so it does.

There are two acts of God that are confused at times; and they are mercy and grace.  There is much said of both.

I know an individual who frequently uses the word “Mercy” when someone says something that might be considered shocking.  Both mercy and grace are needed by humanity.  We need to receive both, and we need to practice both; but only God can give them in all their fulness.

Let me give you a definition of each one, then, we will deal with the mercy of the Psalms.  First, “Mercy”, the way I understand it is; not receiving what we justly deserve – which is the wrath of God.  Secondly, “Grace” is receiving from God what we do not deserve – that is His love, His mercy, His presence, power, glory, His Son, His redemption.  Only those who submit to Him, His Word and the work of His Son Jesus on the cross experience His grace.

God gives the human race His mercy everyday.  If He were to become unmerciful He would destroy the whole of creation, and there would not be one living person left.  Because of the gift of His Son we can be assured that will not happen.  Jesus Christ has paid the sin debt that humanity owed to God.

In Psalm 136 all 26 verses give tribute to the mercy of God.  His mercy endures forever.  There is nothing like His mercy.

We find that we are to give thanks for His mercy,

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks unto the God of gods: for His mercy endureth for ever.  O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for His mercy endureth for ever.”  Psalam 136:1-3 (KJV)

We find His mercy in the wonders that He performs; and in the Universe He has created –

“To Him who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that by wisdom made the heavens: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him that made great lights: for His mercy endureth for ever: the sun to rule by day: for His mercy endureth for ever: the moon and stars to rule by night: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:4-9

In His mercy God gave Egypt the chance to “Let My people go”, but they would not; so His mercy was displayed in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt –

“To Him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for His mercy endureth for ever: and brought out Israel from among them: for His mercy endureth for ever: with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for His mercy endureth for ever.  To Him which divided the Red sea into parts: for His mercy endureth for ever: and made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for His mercy endureth for ever: but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for His mercy endureth for ever.” 136:10-15

God was merciful when He was leading His people through the wilderness.  There was many a time He would have destroyed them, but His mercy endured, and He delivered them, and took them to the land He had promised.  Read verses 16 – 22.

The psalmist even goes on to state for all who are under His purview are provided for by Him –

“Who giveth food to all flesh: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 25

All of creation, God’s created order; whether they believe in Him or not; whether they are good or evil, are recipients of the mercy of God.  O, wicked man; you deny God’s mercy and grace, yet you breathe His air, you walk on His dirt, you experience His gift of your beating heart; when He could at a word, stop it, and send you into a dark and Christless eternity.

“O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endureth for ever.” v. 26

As the Psalm began,so it ends.  With thanksgiving to the One who is merciful.  How will you thank Him today.  Begin by receiving His gift of grace given us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 35 – Job Rebuked by GOD

I would probably call it “sarcasm”.  The voice of the LORD answers Job, “Out of the whirlwind”; and asks Job a lot of questions which seem to have a lot of sarcasm in them.  “Sarcasm” is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as “1 a cutting, contemptuous remark: 2 Ironical criticism or reproach”.  The latter one being the better understanding of God’s rebuke of Job.

My reading today was from Job 38 – Psalms 9.  We will comment on Job alone.

Chapter 37 ended all the comments by the friends of Job.  Job’s comments have ended as well.  God has been silent up until chapter 38, then He speaks with sarcastic rebuke.  I say it is sarcasm because of the way God questions Job.  For instance,

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” 38:2

The LORD is clearly speaking to Job.  It is not even clear if his friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are still around; or their friend Elihu.  Another question God asks Job,

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.” v. 4

Of course God knows the answers to these questions and Job’s final response is found,

“Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,  ‘Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.’  Then Job answered the LORD, and said,  ‘Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.  Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”  Job 40:1-5 (KJV)

Job had spent hours defending himself before his friends; what he would do if he were given a chance to stand before the LORD, and argue his case with Him.  Now God is speaking to him, and he clamps his hand over his mouth to silence himself.  There are many questions we all have stated that we would like to ask the LORD when we see Him face to face.  My thought on that is; especially after looking at Job’s response; is that ours will be very similar.  Just His sight and His presence will answer it all for us.

There have been, and some just recently; tornadoes and storms which have wreaked out devastation throughout the U. S. of A.  Lives have been lost.  One whole family of five lost their lives in one city.  Questions abound.  One of which in these cases is, “Where was God when all these tragedies took place?” or “Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos, even of evil?”  If you will notice; From where did God speak to Job? “Out of the whirlwind”.  At least twice this is said in 38:1 and 40:6.

Where was God in all these tragedies?  He speaks from out of them.  We need to listen.  Why doesn’t God put an end to all this chaos and evil?  I used to ask that question a lot, then one day in a still small voice I heard the Lord say in my heart, “If I ridded the world of evil, I would rid the world of you.”  I have not asked the question since, except of course to tell about it.  I thank Him for His wonderful grace.  His grace and mercy has allowed that more have not died, than could have.

God reminds Job of two creatures He has made.  The “behemoth”, and the “leviathan”.  Now some interpreters interpret these creatures as being a hippopotamus and a crocodile.  The description it gives is too immense to be either.  There are some scholars who put the book of Job as written earlier than the books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy).  There are some; of whom I am one; who believe these creatures are of the time of, what we call, the dinosaurs.  The behemoth could be that one large one with the long neck reaching to the tops of trees, with the large tail dragging on the ground some of the time.  The other sounds like some sort of creature which breaths fire.  These are both extinct now, as far as we know.

Some of you may laugh, but God’s word is true.  And, if God gives us evidence that men were on earth with the dinosaurs, then we better take heed to it.

In the end Job is back, right with God and with his friends.  His friends are told by God to take a sacrifice for themselves, Job would pray for them, and God would forgive them too.  We are also told that God gave Job twice what he had before.  He even had seven more sons and three more daughters.

A point is made in verse 15 of chapter 42,

“And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”

Even Job was able to see the plan of God to make all one in Christ Jesus,

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  Galations 3:28-29 (KJV)

Job was soundly rebuked by God, and shown the ridiculousness of his questions and charges.  Trust God, believe Him.  He sees a larger picture than you or I do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 33 – Weary of Life

Does life ever seem like a weary process to you?  Do you ever feel like you are all alone and that no one cares?  Not even God?  There are many Biblical characters who experienced these thoughts, and the one we will look at today is probably the most known.  His name is Job.

My reading today was Job 10 – 23, but let me do a little recap of chapters 1 – 9; particularly the first chapter or two.

It is said of Job that he was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed (avoided) evil”.  He was a man who had a large family of seven sons and three daughters, and he was a wealthy man (1:1-3).  We are told by Scripture that the “sons of God” which probably is referring to angels came before the LORD, and Satan came too.  Then we learn that the devil is challenging God’s treatment of Job.  God has protected Job and blessed him.  “No wonder”, the devil says, “he will not turn away from you the way you have blessed him.  However, if you would take all that away he would curse you.”

Job loses all his children, his wealth, and finally he loses his health as well; and he begins to feel as though God will not hear him.  He has three wonderful friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; who show up to give him comfort.  We should all be so blessed to have friends who are willing to come, sit with you and listen to your heart, aches and all.  For seven days (2:11-13) they sat with him, weeping and mourning with him, not saying a word; but then, they should have gone home.  I had a friend who is now in Heaven with the LORD who had the philosophy of time on the phone should be no longer than three minutes; and if you spent any longer than that you started saying much more than was necessary.

It is great to mourn and weep with those who mourn and weep; however, it is probably best to let them do the talking, and you be silent, and just listen.  Understand, they are hurting, they are expressing their anguish and pain.  It is not the time for big theological discussion.

Be assured Job was encouraged by the visit of the three friends, but when they started talking, accusing him that this was all due to the sins of his children and his own sins; then, they became a source of further pain and grief.

There is much evidence in Job’s testimony that he was feeling like God was not listening to him.  You will never hear him deny God’s existence, or see a lack of faith in God, in any of Job’s words.

“My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” Job 10:1 (KJV)

It seems sometimes like all I get done is go to the doctor.  I have blood pressure problems, heart problems, with five stents put in veins of my heart last April.  I am not telling you this to feel sorry for me, please do not.  My wife had heart surgery on September 21, 2010, and she sees the doctor quite a bit, and we are still a young couple; we feel that way.  There are times, however, I feel a lot like Job felt.  Job was a far more righteous man than I am.  He was a man of much faith; mine seems weak much of the time.  My soul gets weary of this life, my life at times.  Life, however, is in God’s hands.  That is where I will leave it.

I know there are many others who are suffering much more than my wife and I are.  So many have cancers eating away at their bodies, weakening them physically, and gradually taking their lives.  Some overcome the cancer; and we struggle with God, and our faith.

There are many faith statements which Job makes in these 14 chapters read today.

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.” 13:15

With this statement Job is saying that he will continue to trust the LORD even if He does not grant him a session with Him.  He will trust God and believe His word no matter what.  If you never heard from God again, never sensed His presence again; would you still trust and believe Him?

Another statement of faith from Job;

“If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” 14:14

Though put in the form of a question you will notice that Job is waiting for that day when he rises from the grave, and “My change comes”.

The final one I leave you with today –

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

To me that statement is probably the strongest statement of faith that Job has made thus far.  “I know that my redeemer liveth…”  Even though we may question God in our pain and grief, those questions are a statement that we believe God and are trusting Him.  If we did not would we be calling out to Him.  I think not.

That redeemer that lives is Jesus the Christ, Son of the living God.  He is the One on whom Job believed, trusted and confided in.  No Jesus the babe in a manger had not yet been born, but here is another manifestation of the presence and glory of Christ even in the Old Testament.  He is LORD.

-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

The Virtuous Woman

Does any man look for a “virtuous woman” in the world today?  I know some do, but by the world’s standard a woman of virtue is more shunned than shown honor.  What is virtue? First let me give you the text for today;

 “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”  Proverbs 31:10

By the meaning in the Hebrew word “khah’-yil” meaning,

“probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength: – able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+) valiant (-ly), valour, virtuous (-ly), war, worthy (-ily).”  Strong’s Concordance — eSword.

The word virtuous would mean a woman who is strong, resourceful, powerful, and Matthew Henry even says, “A virtuous woman is a woman of spirit”.

There are a lot of women I have noticed who have “spirit”, but they are of the wrong spirit.  The Biblical virtuous woman is a woman who loves God, and her strength is in Him, her resources are from Him, her power is of Him, she knows it and lives on the promises of God.  She is a woman who loves and cares for her family; her husband adores her, as do her children; and she is loved and respected by others.

A virtuous woman is more concerned with the health and safety and provisions of others; especially than for herself.  You can read about those qualities through the rest of Proverbs 31.

The same could be said of men of honor or men of valor.  The words honor and valor are the same as virtuous.

As children of God – Christians are to be virtuous people trusting in the grace and mercy of God; being gracious and merciful as God is full of grace and mercy.  Being light in darkness.  Just as the sunshine of day always overpowers darkness so too does the light of Christ overcome darkness of evil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Above His Name

The name of GOD is a name above every name.  The name Jesus is the name above every other name (Philippians 2:9-10).  Jesus is the Living Word of God; the Word become flesh (John 1:14) and dwelling among us.

Sometime ago I read a comment someone made on Facebook, about something they had said in writing.  They were sorry for the abusive, expletive use of a word or words they had used.  It is as though they wrote without thought.  I can somewhat understand a sudden outrage in speech, but not in writing.  Writing something down takes some thought; although I have read some things that did not take much thought; probably some of my own writing  would fit into that category 🙂 .

Anyhow, I only mention that to say, God has spoken His Word, and it is sure and steadfast, it is eternal, and He has said that it would not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11), so it will not.  He has also given us His written word, and by this Word we know Him, His name, His Son and His name, and the person of His Spirit.

The Psalmist has written,

“I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.”  Psalm 138:2 (KJV)

I have probably written too much already.  Let me let the writer of the Treasury of David clarify it for you;

I will worship toward thy holy temple,” or the place of God’s dwelling, where the ark abode. He would worship God in God’s own way. The Lord had ordained a centre of unity, a place of sacrifice, a house of his indwelling; and David accepted the way of worship enjoined by revelation. Even so, the true-hearted believer of these days must not fall into the will-worship of superstition, or the wild worship of scepticism, but reverently worship as the Lord himself prescribes. The idol gods had their temples; but David averts his glance from them, and looks earnestly to the spot chosen of the Lord for his own sanctuary. We are not only to adore the true God, but to do so in his own appointed way: the Jew looked to the temple, we are to look to Jesus, the living temple of the Godhead. “And praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth.” Praise would be the main part of David’s worship; the name or character of God the great object of his song; and the special point of his praise the grace and truth which shone so conspicuously in that name. The person of Jesus is the temple of the Godhead, and therein we behold the glory of the Father, “full of grace and truth.” It is upon these two points that the name of Jehovah is at this time assailed – his grace and his truth. He is said to be too stern, too terrible, and therefore “modern thought” displaces the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and sets up an effeminate deity of its own making. As for us, we firmly believe that God is love, and that in the summing up of all things it will be seen that hell itself is not inconsistent with the beneficence of Jehovah, but is, indeed, a necessary part of his moral government now that sin has intruded into the universe. True believers hear the thunders of his justice, and yet they do not doubt his lovingkindness. Especially do we delight in God’s great love to his own elect, such as he showed to Israel as a race, and more especially to David and his seed when he entered into covenant with him. Concerning this there is abundant room for praise. But not only do men attack the lovingkindness of God, but the truth of God is at this time assailed on all sides; some doubt the truth of the inspired record as to its histories, others challenge the doctrines, many sneer at the prophecies; in fact, the infallible word of the Lord is at this time treated as if it were the writing of imposters, and only worthy to be carped at. The swine are trampling on the pearls at this time, and nothing restrains them; nevertheless, the pearls are pearls still, and shall yet shine about our Monarch’s brow. We sing the lovingkindness and truth of the God of the Old Testament, – “the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” David before the false gods first sang, then worshipped, and then proclaimed the grace and truth of Jehovah; let us do the same before the idols of the New Theology.
For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” The word of promise made to David was in his eyes more glorious than all else that he had seen of the Most High. Revelation excels creation in the clearness, definiteness, and fulness of its teaching. The name of the Lord in nature is not so easily read as in the Scriptures, which are a revelation in human language, specially adapted to the human mind, treating of human need, and of a Saviour who appeared in human nature to redeem humanity. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the divine word will not pass away, and in this respect especially it has a pre-eminence over every other form of manifestation. Moreover, the Lord lays all the rest of his name under tribute to his word: his wisdom, power, love, and all his other attributes combine to carry out his word. It is his word which creates, sustains, quickens, enlightens, and comforts. As a word of command it is supreme; and in the person of the incarnate Word it is set above all the works of God’s hands. The sentence in the text is wonderfully full of meaning. We have collected a vast mass of literature upon it, but space will not allow us to put it all into our notes. Let us adore the Lord who has spoken to us by his word, and by his Son; and in the presence of unbelievers let us both praise his holy name and extol his holy word.

Believe the LORD.  Trust His Word and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Friends and Enemies

It seems that we are all a bit fickle.  We love our friends; as long as they are kind and never say a harsh or critical word to us.  Yet that is not friendship.  I will not spend a lot of time or words with this, but really, a true friend should be someone who will tell you your weaknesses, when you have done something wrong.  A friend is someone who will sharpen your ax blade, so to speak; or at least aid you in doing so yourself.

Is it a friend who is always telling you the good things you do?  How bright you are?  How handsome or beautiful you are?   A friend will appreciate the good and great things about you, and tell  you so; however the friend will also pick you apart, and cut away, and may hurt you to help you.  There; I said it. Now let us see what the wise man of Proverbs says.

“Open rebuke is better than secret love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Proverbs 27:5-6

There will be those who call themselves friend, but never really help you shine.  They are really your enemy; never wanting you to improve; wanting you to remain in their league.  Their kisses are venom, poisonous and deadly.

Let’s hear what Matthew Henry has written of these two verses;

Note, 1. It is good for us to be reproved, and told of our faults, by our friends. If true love in the heart has but zeal and courage enough to show itself in dealing plainly with our friends, and reproving them for what they say and do amiss, this is really better, not only than secret hatred (as Lev. 19:17), but than secret love, that love to our neighbours which does not show itself in this good fruit, which compliments them in their sins, to the prejudice of their souls. Faithful are the reproofs of a friend, though for the present they are painful as wounds. It is a sign that our friends are faithful indeed if, in love to our souls, they will not suffer sin upon us, nor let us alone in it. The physician’s care is to cure the patient’s disease, not to please his palate. 2. It is dangerous to be caressed and flattered by an enemy, whose kisses are deceitful We can take no pleasure in them because we can put no confidence in them (Joab’s kiss and Judas’s were deceitful), and therefore we have need to stand upon our guard, that we be not deluded by them; they are to be deprecated. Some read it: The Lord deliver us from an enemy’s kisses, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
From the Matthew Henry Commentary – Libronix Library

Remember too, that a friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17).  Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God is your dearest friend.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jerusalem and Prayer

The City of Jerusalem of the land of Israel is a hot topic.  It causes many people to get furious over it, because it seems to be; in their minds; there religions city.  Israel claims it, Catholicism claims it in the name of Christianity, and Islam claims it in the name of Mohammed.  Thus there is much struggle over the city.

Scripture calls it the “City of David”  (2 Samuel 5:7; 6:10;  1 Kings 2:10; and several other references in 1 Kings), and “City of God” (Psalm 46:4; 48:1, 8;  87:3).  David was the King of Israel, who had the heart of God.

David wrote,

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”  Psalm 122:6 (KJV)

There are many events; some of them very catastrophic which happen in and around Jerusalem today.  Many arguing and fighting for a Palestinian State.  I do not see a Palestinian State mentioned in Scripture; the main purpose of the “Palestinian people”, by many of their own people is to destroy Israel.  So Jerusalem does need our prayer.

When the Psalmist writes this he is not asking us to pray for the peace of the “Church”, or Islam, but the peace of the City of David and of God.  It seems there has always been a struggle between the holy and the unholy, good and evil over this city.

Someone has said something like this, “As goes Jerusalem; so goes the world.”  When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and her people Israel we pray for the peace of the world too.

Jerusalem is the place where our Lord Jesus walked and where He died on the cross and was burried and from which He rose again to life.  It is also the place to which one day, and I believe soon, will return and make things right in this world (Zechariah 14).  There will be peace in Jerusalem through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ordered Steps

It is usually not an excepted thing to have  your “steps” ordered by someone else.  However, it is the preferred thing for those who are made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).  If a man or woman joins the military their steps are ordered, or they suffer consequences for their dereliction of duty or insubordination.  If we are followers of God through His Son Jesus Christ we too are soldiers of the cross of Jesus.

The Psalmist writes much in Psalm 119.  It is in fact the longest Psalm of the 150 which are given us in the Psalms.  It is 176 verses, and practically every verse has something to do with the Word of God.  I think there are three of those 176 which have no reference to God’s Word.  Now those references uses words such as “Commandments”, “Law”, “Statutes”, “Judgments”, “Word”, “Precepts” and “Testimonies”, being sure to cover every work of the Word of the LORD.  If you will look closely at the Psalm it is a prayer.

I want us to look at one verse which is the request of the Psalmist,

“Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.”  Psalm 119:133 (KJV)

It is a shame that professing Christians are ignorant of God’s Word.  Sometimes it amazes me how ignorant some preachers are concerning the Word of God.  I do not mean to belittle or be derogatory with them, or toward them, but come on men; what do we preach?  Our ignorance of Scripture is a personal detriment; as well as great harm to those we lead.  There is no shame in ignorance, just in choosing to remain ignorant.  That is stupidity.

The Psalmist; probably David; asks God to direct his steps.  Our steps; ordered by the LORD will lead us into holiness, righteousness and joy and peace.  The Psalmist also asks the LORD “…and let not any iniquity have dominion over me”.  Those who are in Christ Jesus are possessed by the Spirit of Christ – the Holy Spirit – and are directed by that Spirit every moment of every day.  We may not always listen and heed, but let us pray that our “Accounts will be short” with the LORD.  As with the whole of Psalm 119, let it be also with this verse; our prayer.

The following  is the commentary of Charles H. Spurgeon on this verse,

“Order my steps in thy word.” This is one of the Lord’s customary mercies to his chosen, – ‘“He keepeth the feet of his saints.” By his grace he enables us to put our feet step by step in the very place which his word ordains. This prayer seeks a very choice favour, namely, that every distinct act, every step, might be arranged and governed by the will of God. This does not stop short of perfect holiness, neither will the believer’s desires be satisfied with anything beneath that blessed consummation. “And let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” This is the negative side of the blessing. We ask to do all that is right, and to fall under the power of nothing that is wrong. God is our sovereign, and we would have every thought in subjection to his sway. Believers have no choice, darling sins to which they would be willing to bow. They pant for perfect liberty from the power of evil, and being conscious that they cannot obtain it of themselves, they cry unto God for it.

From The Treasury of David – e-Sword

Holiness, righteousness, peace and joy is only found by those who are in the faith of Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Cautious Eye

In a day when there are people who think they are doing good by deceit and fraud; though they definitely would not see it as deceit and fraud; it is imperative that the people of God; those who are Christians be prudent in their lives.

The word means Cautious or discreet, cunning is even a good definition of prudent.

The wisdom of Solomon is found in Proverbs 22:3,

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”  Proverbs 22:3 (KJV)

Of course this is mostly having to do with having an eye against that which is evil, and not just letting it creep up on you.  Be aware, be alert; and that is probably what Peter had in mind as he was inspired to write,

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8

I will let a couple of the sages of the past give their comments on this verse:

See here, 1. The benefit of wisdom and consideration: A prudent man, by the help of his prudence, will foresee an evil, before it comes, and hide himself; he will be aware when he is entering into a temptation and will put on his armour and stand on his guard. When the clouds are gathering for a storm he takes the warning, and flies to the name of the Lord as his strong tower. Noah foresaw the deluge, Joseph the years of famine, and provided accordingly. 2. The mischief of rashness and inconsideration. The simple, who believe every word that flatters them, will believe none that warns them, and so they pass on and are punished. They venture upon sin, though they are told what will be in the end thereof; they throw themselves into trouble, notwithstanding the fair warning given them, and they repent their presumption when it is too late. See an instance of both these, Ex. 9:20, 21. Nothing is so fatal to precious souls as this, they will not take warning.

Matthew Henry Commentary.

and now John Gill,

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself,…. A wise man, whose eyes are in his head, who looks about him and before him, and is cautious and careful of his conduct and behaviour; he foresees the evil of sin he is liable to be drawn into by such and such company, snares, and temptations; and therefore he keeps from them, and abstains from all appearance of evil, or what would lead him to it; and he foresees the evil of punishment, or the judgments of God that are coming on for sin; and he betakes himself to the Lord, to those hiding places and chambers of retreat and protection he has provided for his people, till the indignation be overpast; see Isa_26:20;

but the simple pass on, and are punished: foolish persons, devoid of the grace of God and the fear of him, go on careless and unconcerned in their sinful course of life, transgressing the law of God; they proceed from evil to evil, from lesser to greater sins; they go on in the broad road to destruction, and are punished with temporal judgments here, and with everlasting destruction hereafter.

John Gill’s e-Sword Commentary

Be watchful, but trusting the LORD through it all to protect and keep you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

The Turning Heart

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

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

The writer of Proverbs has written,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Vengeance and God

As I read the Psalms this morning; particularly Psalms 91 – 95; the 94th Psalm and verse 1 was of special interest.  Now let me say off the start that there is no one I can think of that I want harm or God’s vengeance or mine to come on.  I do not believe the Psalmist had any one individual in mind either.  However, there is evil in the world, and most of the time evil comes through people.

One of the greatest evils of our time in the United States of America is abortion; the murder of the unborn human child.  However, we do not want to continue evil by doing evil in taking the lives of those who are in the eyes of the Supreme Court of our country, and “law of the land”.  Vengeance is in our Lord’s hands.  It is not mine or ours.

“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew Thyself.” Psalm 94:1 (KJV)

The act of retribution upon evil is God’s.  We as citizens of our nation have the power and authority to try and overthrow the ruling of the SC, and write new laws, but not to take life.

Reading the above verse makes me think of a couple of others,

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.”  Romans 12:19, (Deuteronomy 32:35).

The other one being to finish up the sentence of the Psalmist, “Shew Thyself”,

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9a (KJV)

Vengeance is the Lord’s.  It is sweeter when we leave it in God’s hands; and the justice done is so much more redeeming when we leave it with Him.

For any evil, there is forgiveness when one comes to the cross of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Greed is Not Good

In my way of thinking “Greed” is the unethical gain of power and wealth.  Gain by unethical means is always evil.  Unethical could be defined as taking from those who cannot afford the loss.  Using words of malice to destroy another’s reputation, character, or taking life to gain their possessions or power.

The desire to earn for the purpose of caring for your family is a god-given desire; and even to better one’s own situation in life.  The object is being content with what you are doing and your present situation.  Content with God’s direction for your life is probably what is meant by being content.

The writer of Proverbs; probably Solomon says,

“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.”  Proverbs 15:27 (KJV)

This coming from a man who had more wealth than, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates combined, for the time he lived in.

It is implied by the latter part of the verse that this “greedy gain” has been gotten by the receipt of “gifts” or “bribes”.  A bribe is given to get an individual or possibly a company, or someone in power to “look the other way” when an evil deed is taking place, is about to take place or will take place.  A decision by a judge, law enforcement officer, or business associate, etc.  Sometimes even a friendship can cause one to be “bought”; or even a family relationship.

It should be the heart of the Righteous to hate “Gifts”; the giving or receiving of “bribes”.  Bribery will destroy the giver and the receiver ultimately.  It may line the pockets of the bank account temporarily; but it will also work as a cancer in the heart, and destroy that life and loved one’s lives.

The following is commentary from Matthew Henry of Proverbs 15:27,

Note, 1. Those that are covetous entail trouble upon their families: He that is greedy of gain, and therefore makes himself a slave to the world, rises up early, sits up late, and eats the bread of carefulness, in pursuit of it—he that hurries, and puts himself and all about him upon the stretch, in business, frets and vexes at every loss and disappointment, and quarrels with every body that stands in the way of his profit—he troubles his own house, is a burden and vexation to his children and servants. He that, in his greediness of gain, takes bribes, and uses unlawful ways of getting money, leaves a curse with what he gets to those that come after him, which sooner or later will bring trouble into the house, Hab. 2:9, 10. 2. Those that are generous as well as righteous entail a blessing upon their families: He that hates gifts, that shakes his hands from holding the bribes that are thrust into his hand to pervert justice and abhors all sinful indirect ways of getting money—that hates to be paltry and mercenary, and is willing, if there be occasion, to do good gratis—he shall live; he shall have the comfort of life, shall live in prosperity and reputation; his name and family shall live and continue.

FROM Matthew Henry Commentery; e-SWord edition

Even if someone has fallen for the lie and given in to the temptation of this greed, there is forgiveness and cleansing through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection.  Be clean and go and sin no more in this evil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

To Have Strong Confidence

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”  Proverbs 14:26-27 (KJV)

Fear is a topic of great importance and influence in the Bible.  Fear is a good thing when it comes to certain things; as long as one is not overwhelmed by it.  Fear can be a nudge to safety.

In the case of the Proverbs today “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence”.  The following is John Gills commentary on verse 26,

In the fear of the LORD is strong conficence,…. Such who fear the Lord may be confident that he has a love to them, a delight in them; that his eye is upon them, and his heart towards them; and will communicate every needful good to them, and protect and defend them: or the Lord himself that is feared, who is the object of fear, called the fear of Isaac, Gen_31:42; he is a strong tower, a place of defence to those that fear him and trust in him, Pro_18:10;

and His children shall have a strong refuge; the children of God, as those that fear him are; the Lord is a place of refuge to them, from the avenger of blood, from the vindictive justice of God; from the storm and tempest of divine wrath, and from the curses of a righteous law; as well as from the rage and persecutions of men. FROM e-Sword

and verse 27,

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,…. Where the true fear of God is, there is a real principle of grace, which is “a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life”, Joh_4:14; eternal life is connected with it; it makes meet for it, and issues in it: or the Lord, who is the object of fear, he is the fountain of life: as of natural, so of spiritual and eternal life; spiritual life springs from him, is supported and maintained by him, the consequence of which is life everlasting;

to depart from the snares of death; sins, transgressions, as Aben Ezra interprets it; these are the works of men’s hands, in which they are snared; these are the cords in which they are holden, and so die without instruction; the wages of them are death, even death eternal: likewise there are the snares of the world and of the devil, temptations to sin, with which being ensnared, lead to death; now the fear of the Lord is a means of delivering from and of avoiding those snares, and so of escaping death.

When you are living your life trusting the LORD, loving Him, depending on Him, walking with Him; then, there is nothing to fear.  Those without the love and faith of God have everything to fear; and nothing to have confidence in except their own ways.

Trust in the LORD begins with trusting His way of salvation, and that is through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.  Believe, and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship