Faith Living

“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into different temptations; knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all liberally, and reproaches not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:  but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.  For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower of it falls, and the grace of the fashion of it perishes: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
Blessed, the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted of God:’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
Do not err, my beloved brethren.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and overflowing of evil, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholds himself, and goes his way, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. But who ever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, to keep himself unspotted from the world.'”  James 1:1-27

REFERENCES: 4:8; Deuteronomy 32:26; Acts 2:5; 13:26; 1 Kings 3:9; Mark 11:24;  Job 5:17; 14:2; Numbers 23:19; Jeremiah 2:3; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 15:2; Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13; Luke 6:47; Isaiah 1:16; John 8:31-32

For Christ’s Sake, Do Your Brother Well

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.  For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by you, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin you that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  I beseech you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: which in time past was to you unprofitable, but now profitable to you and to me: whom I have sent again: you therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: but without your mind would I do nothing; that your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.  For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that you should receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto you, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.  If he has wronged you, or owes anything, put that on my account; I Paul have written with mine own hand, I will repay, because I do not say to you, how you owe unto me even your own self besides.  Yea, brother, let me have joy of you in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.  Having confidence in your obedience I wrote unto you, knowing that you will also do more than I say. But immediately prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
There, you salute Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:1-25

REFERENCES: Ephesians 1:2; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 16:17; Colossians 4:9; Genesis 45:5

Right and Just Business Practices

Balances, Integrity and Righteousness – Proverbs 11:1-6

1.  Balances were a means of conducting much agricultural, metals, and other forms of business in days of the past.  Notice that the “False balance” is an “Abomination to the LORD” – something that is disgusting, and wicked in the sight of the LORD.

This proverb (v. 1) can be tied with the command to “Love our neighbor” (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31) as ourselves; and the final six of the Ten Commandments.  The Lord delights in a just weight or right balances.

2.  Pride, arrogance, insolence, presumptuousness are words very similar in meaning.  Most people hate arrogance when it is seen in someone else.  The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary defines “arrogant” as being “Offensives exaggerating one’s own importance”;  “insolent” is defined as “contemptuous, rude, disrespectful, or brutal in behavior or language: OVERBEARING, BOLD”; “presumptuous” means “overstepping due bounds; taking liberties: OVERBOLD.”  With this “Pride” comes shame following closely on the heels – see Proverbs 16:18.

In contrast is the “lowly” or the modest individual.  These are usually the thankful person.  The individual who knows they are not alone and trust the Lord for their every need.

3.  “Integrity” equals “Soundness:  adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity, honesty, and candor: completeness.”  These, of course, would be guided by the teachings of God’s word and the Holy Spirit in the Christian.

In this verse as well as verses 2, and 4 through 6 there are contrasting statements:  “The integrity of the upright” and “The perverseness of transgressors”;  Riches and righteousness;  “The righteousness of the perfect… but the wicked shall fall…”

There is destruction awaiting those connected to unrighteousness.

There is deliverance for the righteous; but “transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.”  (Jeremiah 2:19)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Man of Understanding

THE MAN OF UNDERSTANDING

Hearing Wisdom From Human Sources – Proverbs 1:8-19

Verse 8 –  The first line of defense against evil for the child is the parents and their wisdom concerning good, right, wrong, godliness, evil, Righteousness and unrighteousness.

If the parents are not wise in the things of God, then their children are in danger of great peril.  The child is to listen to their parents teaching with interest in what they are teaching.
“Obey the correction, discipline, chastisement of your father.  Do not throw away, cast off the law of your mother.”

Verse 9 –  By hearing, obeying your father, and grasping hold of your mother’s teaching, and cherishing her teachings they will be like a golden chain around your neck (Genesis 41:42-43).

For they (shall be) an ornament of grace unto thy head. The sentiment here expressed is put forward as an inducement to youth to observe obedience towards the instruction of the father and the law of the mother, and the meaning is that, just as in popular opinion ornaments and jewels are supposed to set off the personal form, so obedience towards parents in the ways of virtue embellishes the moral character (Bayne, Cartwright, Holden).  From The Pulpit Commentary (e-Sword edition).

Could it be that a child who grows in wisdom will be seen as having a “Good head on his shoulders”?

Verses 10-19 –  The enticements, alluring and greed of the evil will lead to murder.

There is temptation which comes from outside the individual sinner.  Those who “lay wait for blood”  There is a certain greed, lust, thirst for power which cares not whose life it may harm.

This greed for blood comes from lustful desire for material gain to be seen as powerful, famous, and beautiful.

Within these verses are two warnings to “consent thou not”, and of what this evil does.  Verse 10, and verse 15 is a call to “walk not in the way with them”.
The Pulpit Commentary gives us a point to think about,

“HOW THE TEMPTATION IS TO BE MET. “Consent thou not.” Let no man deem himself the helpless victim of temptation. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able,” etc. (1Co_10:13) We have wills. We can say “Yes” and “No.” We are not responsible for meeting with temptation, since even Christ felt the cruel force of this trial, but we are responsible for the way we behave under it. one thing to be tempted, Another thing to fall.

Psalm 119 gives some words of wisdom and instruction as well, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.  With my whole heart have I sought Thee: O let me not wander from Thy commandments.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”  Psalm 119:9-11 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Understanding and Wisdom

A study through Proverbs.

THE MAN OF UNDERSTANDING

Contents of Wisdom – Proverbs 1:1-19

FIVE QUESTIONS by Warren Wiersbe –

1. What is the major theme of the Book of Proverbs?
2. Who wrote the Book of Proverbs and how is it written?
3. What is the key verse that helps “unlock” the book? [1:7]
4. What does Proverbs say about Jesus Christ? [Colossians 2:3; 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30
5. What must we do to get the most out of the book?

From BE SKILLFUL BY Warren W. Wiersbe

“Proverbs are pithy statements that summarize in a few choice words practical truths relating to some aspect of everyday life.”  Wiersbe

“As you study, keep in mind that Hebrew proverbs are generalized statements of what is usually true in life, and they must not be treated like promises.”  Wiersbe

Verse 1 – This verse tells us that these are “Proverbs of Solomon”, however, as we proceed through these words of wisdom we will see that he is not the author of all the Proverbs, but he is probably responsible for compiling them into a book. There are also some of the proverbs which were copied by Hezekiah’s men (25:1), and then there are those called “the wise” (22:17; 24:23), a man named Agur (30:1-33), and Lemuel (31:1-9), and then who wrote 31:10-31 “The Virtuous Woman”?

It is quite clear that with the exception of those mentioned Solomon is responsible for these proverbs.

Verses 2 – 6 – The purpose of the Proverbs is explained by these verses. “To know wisdom”, and I would add here that he is speaking of godly wisdom, not earthly wisdom as James contrast the two (James 3:13-18).

One thing that comes out in Proverbs is that those who have wisdom will listen to others; especially those in authority; such as parents.
For understanding the Proverbs one needs the Spirit of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16; Romans 8:9).

Verses 7 -9 – Having a reverence for God is a theme of Proverbs. “The fear of the LORD…” is not being afraid of making a bad choice.

The MacArthur Study Bible notes verse 7 in part –

“The fear of the LORD is a state of mind in which one’s own attitudes, will, feelings, deeds, and goals are exchanged for God’s (cf. Ps. 42:1)”

Instruction is important for learning; there are some who refuse instruction in wisdom. You can be sure they are not wise.

Verses 10 – 19 – Advice is given by wise parents to a learning son. Shun evil. These not so wise people will make evil sound so pleasant, and even apear pleasant, and enjoyable it could be a lure to do the evil, rather than the right and good.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

No People Group Left Out

NO PEOPLE LEFT OUT
Romans 9:25-33

There may have been accusations against Paul’s teaching, claiming that He was preaching an unjust and unrighteous God. That is not what Paul preached, nor is it the teaching of Scripture.

Because God is holy, righteous, and just He has every right to be “Merciful to whom He will be merciful” and to “Have compassion on whom He will have compassion”. He has did everything that His glory, holiness, righteousness, and justness allowed Him to do in order that the lost might be saved.
Hosea’s wife Gomer is brought into this picture of God’s salvation. She had become a harlot, yet God commanded Hosea to love her, and redeem her from her slavery (Hosea 2:1-22; 3:1-5). Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah saying, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth”. (vv. 27-28; Isaiah 10:22-23). These quotations make it quite plain that God’s intentions has always been to save people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. He has blessed the nation of Israel with the blessing of giving the world His Word and the Living Word [His Son Jesus], and is blessing them again, by bringing them back to Himself, though they have strayed, and not believed Him. (See Isaiah 1:9 and 13:9).

Hosea 2:23 Paul has given as the Word of God for calling people for Himself from the Gentile nations.

Vv. 25-26 — The quotation from Hosea concerning those not “My people” and called “Children of the living God”;

Vv. 27-29 — The numerous number of Israel shows God’s fulfillment to make of them a “Great Nation”, however, due to their unfaithfulness, there will only be a small number (a remnant) from that number who will be delivered; thus, He will finish the things which He has said concerning Israel, and He will fulfill His word in short order. Except the Lord saved a remnant the Nation would have been like Sodom and Gomorrha, in destruction;

Vv. 30-32 — You can almost begin to see that there have been questions concerning the Jews about what Paul is teaching, and he is answering them; “What about these Gentiles who never pursued righteousness, and now are righteous?” It is theirs because of faith, ie., trusting God implicitly, and no other – no works – just a simple faith that realizes that it is solely by grace through faith we are saved. Israel, on the other hand, had the law, pursuing it by their works, and deeds and failed to attain righteousness by the law. The reason Israel failed is they were seeking to obtain it by the keeping of the law, rather than trusting the Lord and His grace; they had not the faith; and when it came to Jesus, their Messiah/Christ, He was a “Stumbling stone”;

v. 33 — In Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16 the prophet tells us basically what Paul is quoting; Jesus, the One who died on the cross to may a way for “His own”, and the nations, was rejected, because the cross was and still is an “Offense”. It is not only an offense to the Jew it is an offense to many who are Gentiles.

In 1993 the Barna Research Group conducted a poll on beliefs among those who professed being born again, as compared to the total population. The statement, “All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not, will live in Heaven after they die on earth” was read to those who participated. Of those who professed to be “Born again” thirty two percent [32%] agreed with the statement. Forty eight [48%] of those churched agreed, along with forty four percent [44%] of the total population.
“All good people, whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior or not will live in Heaven after they die on earth.”

Professing Born again …. 32 percent agreed;

Those who attend church …. 48 percent agreed;

Total population …. 44 percent agreed.

It is evident even today [2007] that this has not improved. It has most likely worsened. How terrible it would be to stand before Jesus one day and have our only answer being, “I thought I could make it on my own. I was a good man/woman.” Then, to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you worker of iniquity”.

There will be no shame for those who take God at His Word and believe in Jesus. We will be able to stand before Him with confidence in His finished work and all the glory will belong solely to Him, and that will be our glorification.

Since God Be For Us

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Since God Is For Us

Romans 8:31-39

When you get to thinking about the goodness, grace and mercy of God, and you see things taught us in Scripture as, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8); and, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (5:10); would it not be perfectly fitting of God to do even more wondrous things for those who are no longer His enemies.

Things we can see which God has done for us, and gives us, and continues to do in and through us:

1.  Christ was given as our Substitute for sin; to freely give us all things; that is basically forgiveness. That is the most wondrous thing, along with the fellowship which we can have with the Father. We no longer have guilt, excusing us to flee from God’s presence, and we now have the presence of God within us who calls us to the throne of grace to receive forgiveness (vv. 31-32);
2.  There is no charge that can be brought against us. The only Ones who can bring any legitimate charge against us will not, because we have been cleansed and forgiven by them. When you forgive someone a debt owed to you by them; you are the one who paid the debt. That is actually what forgiveness is. Until a debt is paid; it is owed. God could charge us with sin, but instead He has justified us; Jesus could also, but He died for us, rising again, is seated at the right hand of God and intercedes for us (vv. 33-34);
3.  There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Sin has been the source of all our separation from God; now sin has been dealt with in a death blow that is for all eternity; It is the love of Jesus Christ which is being spoke of in verse thirty five – in all these things mentioned they are rather sources of strength building rather than sources of separation and they are building blocks of our faith. We are at our Lord’s mercy, and for His glory (vv. 35-36);
4.  The term, “More than conquerors” is one that is sometimes heard in other places other than church and Christian atmosphere. It is heard on school campuses. It is heard in youth discussions; Come what may, let the devil beware we will stand. We must understand that we cannot overcome, we cannot be “Conquerors” in our strength – it is in the power, Spirit and glory of Jesus Christ that we conquer (v. 37);
5.  There are many things which Paul uses here to show us that there is nothing that can separate us from the “love of God…in Christ Jesus”; Notice if you will the first two – “Death nor life”; now death is separation of life from the body; but what is this doing here – especially ‘Life’? There are times we can let life get between us and God; however, if we are God’s that is not the end; “…angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing (even yourself), shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

O, what a wonder and glory it is; this thing called grace, this privilege called grace; this merciful eternal act of God. None deserve it. Few receive it. All who receive it will glorify Jesus. “Since God be for us, who can be against us”? No not one.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Glory

GLORY: Our Destination
Romans 8:26-30

So many times as we have our struggles with life and living; facing the sicknesses, diseases we wonder, “Is it worth all this to believe? Is it worth the suffering to continue to trust the Lord? Is it worth the doing without, just to remain honest and/or moral?” There are many questions asked in this life. Some we cannot answer. Some we must answer; at least for the peace of our own hearts.

My prayer is that all who will ever read this message, or hear it, will know their eternal destination. It is by knowing the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that we know our eternal destiny.

There are some things we must know and realize about this destiny we have in Jesus:

1.  We do not always know how to pray concerning our path in life, but the Holy Spirit – the person of Christ in you – knows our hearts, sorrows, and infirmities, and intercedes for us; and with “Groanings which cannot be uttered” (v. 26);
2.  It is God who searches the heart and knows the mind of the Spirit, and because of this He prays according to God’s will (v. 27);
3.  If we believe that the Spirit of God is praying through us, then we should realize that then “All things work together for good…”, and God is glorified (v. 28);
4.  We can know that God is sovereign over all things, even His people – in God’s foreknowledge He predestinated those who follow Christ to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and because of this He is placed as ‘firstborn among many brethren’ (v. 29) placing Him as the Heir apparent (this is one who cannot be legally kept from the throne), fulfilling the will and the glory of God;
5.  Those who have been predestined ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son’, “them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (v. 30).

Those who have been called to Jesus’s salvation – the saved, are justified, and the justified, have the promise of God of being glorified. We can rest assured that God will get us to that destination, because His own glory is at stake; and it would not be possible for the glory of God to dim, die, or be disposed of.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Expectation for Redemption

Earnest Expectation For Redemption
Romans 8:18-25

In our last study of Romans 8:10-17 we looked at “A Joyful Expectation In The Father”. That Joyful Expectation is due to His promise that we are “Joint heirs” with Jesus Himself. “Joint heir” means; everything that is His is ours. I am glad to be a joint heir with Christ. We must always know that we are not joint heirs due to our behavior, our goodness, or anything else of us. It is due solely by the Grace of God.

The Father has given us the Right, the Privilege to call God Father, Abba [Daddy]. We have been adopted into the family of God and given all the rights of the elder Son.

EARNEST EXPECTATION AND THE REDEMPTION OF CREATION – INCLUDING OUR PHYSICAL BODIES.

Looking at these memorable verses (18-25) we see and learn some wonderful things. First of all in verse 18 we see that there is going to be “Glory” for those who have believed on Jesus. He has written in verse 17, “… That we may be also glorified together.” and he is speaking, of course of Jesus. There is no glory apart from Jesus.

Paul is making a bold declaration. Notice he says, “For I reckon…” He is declaring something to be so, because the Spirit of Christ has already declared it to be so. We need this mindset, which actually begins in the heart of the believer.

The statement Paul makes in this sentence is a strong statement concerning our glory we share with Christ. The glory we will have in heaven is far beyond any suffering we have received while here on this earth. Stop and think about the suffering you have endured, whether for Christ or because of illness, or even some things of suffering you may have brought on yourself. Those will all be forgotten when we see Jesus in His glory, and receive His glory; the glory we have with Him.

In verse 19 we find that the “creation” all created things, are personalized by Paul making it almost human. It is as though the creation is waiting – waiting expectantly – for the ‘Sons of God to be revealed’. This is the revelation to all of creation who are the children of God. They will receive the glory, then, they shall know. “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory”: How then, can we receive glory? By way of Jesus and His cross – His death, burial and resurrection.

On verses 20 thru 22 the MacArthur Study Bible note states,

“futility’ (NKJV). This refers to the inability to achieve a goal or purpose. Because of man’s sin, God cursed the physical universe (Gen. 3:17-19), and now, no part of creation entirely fulfills God’s original purpose”.

I am going to have to agree with this comment. I have stated in sermons and other things, that, “Man is the only part of God’s creation that does not fulfill God’s original purpose”. In thinking about what the study note says from the MacArthur Study Bible I believe that statement is correct, because when Adam and Eve sinned the earth was cursed. The lamb and the lion no longer lie down together; the calf and the wolf no longer eat together; the child can no longer play on the serpent’s den. And they could before the earth was cursed by the sin of mankind. Through no fault of the creature, ie., creation with the exception of man, thus, the futility, the ‘subjection’ ‘to vanity’. The creation had not sinned, but because of grace, God provides for Adam and Eve and all mankind; who is made after His image and likeness. For the redemption of man, the whole universe is cursed; and because of Jesus Christ, not only is man redeemed but also all of creation. Now isn’t that great or what? In the personification of the creation you can almost see the expectation. Listen as she cries. There was an earthquake at the crucifixion, and the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:51). There was darkness over the whole earth from noon to three in the afternoon when Jesus was suffering for the sins of the world (Matthew 27:45). She is still groaning today. Listen as the storms rage. In some parts of the earth she is disturbed and we can feel her torment. Mount Saint Helens blew her top in 1980, and people died. Just last week Tsunami hit leaving 50,000 plus people without a home. On December 26, 2004 over 300,000 people were killed by a Tsunami as it ravaged Thailand and areas around it. You get the picture. Creation when personified is looking for that day when all things will be set right and made brand new.

In verse 23 we are told that those who have received the gifts of the Spirit; or, the “First fruits of the Spirit” are also longing or groaning for that day when the redemption will be complete. Now, know that, if you have been saved, you are no more saved than you ever will be, nor are you any less saved than you are right now. The point is there is coming a day when our redemption will be completed when we see Jesus face to face, then, we will be home. We are waiting for that ‘adoption’ when we receive our inheritance, and the redemption of our bodies. When Jesus comes for His Bride; the Church; all those who have died will be resurrected from their graves, and it does not matter where that grave may be. Those will be raised in their redeemed bodies, then, those who are alive and remain will be changed, and receive their redeemed bodies. Now I am groaning even more. I have had some people ask me, “Don’t you dread getting old?” to which I have replied, “Not at all. The older I get the closer I get to home”. That is the day I am living for.

Verses 24 & 25 speak of the “Hope” we have now. “Hope that is seen is not hope” seems like a bold statement of sorts. It is quite sensible. If we have the new car of our dreams, we do not hope to get one. We have it in our possession. The hope Paul speaks of, of course is much different than is ‘wishful thinking’, or even thinking that has merit to back up the hope. This hope; of which Paul speaks, is based on the trustworthiness of God and His Word. It is based on the worth of God. Therefore, we can know quite assuredly that though what we have now is hope for that day when He comes; it is as good as accomplished, because God has said it. He has promised it. Because He has promised it, “We eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (NKJV), or “We with patience wait for it”. God did not, does not, nor will not make idle or empty promises. His Word will come to pass, therefore, it is worth looking for and well worth the wait.

We All Have a Master

RECOGNIZING YOUR MASTER

Romans 6:1-23

OUTLINE –

I. LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH; LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION (vv. 1 – 10).

II. TAKING AUTHORITY OVER SIN IN OUR LIVES (vv. 11 – 13).

III. SERVING THE ONE WHOM WE OBEY (vv. 14 – 22).

IV. WAGES OF SIN; AND THE GIFT OF GOD (v. 23)

Does grace give a license to sin? That was the basic question Paul had to answer from his critics – the critics of the true gospel of grace. Does a dead person sin? Not any longer. They are free from sin, but not necessarily from sins wages.

If grace abounds ‘much more’ because of sins intensity, brought about by the law, then, does it not seem that to willfully and deliberately sin would be good? However, for one to be made alive in Christ there must be death and resurrection. This death is the putting away of sin (Col. 3:5). The resurrection is the ‘newness of life’ that only happens through faith in Jesus.

Paul has revealed to us that all people are sinners; “There is none righteous…”, “There is none who seeketh after God…”. He then tells us that the only way for us to please God is by grace through faith. By grace, God declares righteous [right with Himself], those who believe in His Son Jesus. Now, in chapter six Paul turns to the continuing work of God’s grace in those who believe. The Word is sanctification. To be sanctified is a process, a daily process, by which God works in the believer’s life to make us in ‘the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29).

If a person is still controlled by sin that individual has not yet died, nor been resurrected to life by power of Jesus’s resurrection. Before resurrection there must be death. The question we must ask is, “WHO IS YOUR MASTER”?

Is there anything which you desire/crave more than anything else which is not a necessity for living and life? Are you addicted to it? If it is something that causes you to become irritable, rude, obnoxious and angry to be without, then, it is probably something that controls you. “WHO IS YOUR MASTER?”

IN THE LIKENESS OF HIS DEATH, AND THE LIKENESS OF HIS RESURRECTION (vv. 1 – 10).

“Where do my good deeds fit into the scale for salvation?” Do they fit into salvation at all? Here is what Paul has previously said, “If it is of works, it is no more by grace; God becomes indebted to us” (Paraphrased from Rom. 4:4).

By faith the believer trusts God for their salvation, and not their own works. Good works, for the glory of God are a by-product of our faith. God produces fruits in us as we root ourselves in Him.

Trusting Him completely; means that we die to ourselves, and our own believed abilities to

earn God’s favor. There must be a death to self rule in order for God to rule in peace and harmony.

“Baptized into Jesus” is speaking of becoming immersed in Him. By faith we are baptized into Jesus. The word ‘Baptized’ means to immerse – to put under. We have all probably heard the expression, “He is immersed in his work”, meaning, of course, that he is totally given to his job or enterprise. When we are ‘Baptized/Immersed into Jesus’ it means we are totally given to Him.

There is death that has taken place. A separation of the spirit and soul from the body of sin. Notice I say, “From the body of sin”, not from the body of flesh. The ‘Body of sin’ is really the old Adamic nature. It, by faith, has been crucified with Jesus Christ in His death on the cross.

The ordinance of water baptism every obedient Christian practices is a public confession, and testimony by symbol of the actual event that has already taken place in the believer’s life.

This baptism into Jesus is “Reckoning” of ourselves dead in His crucifixion, and raised with Him by His resurrection. To be “Crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20) is to put to death everything that is an abomination to God and take away its power to condemn (John 3:18); Rom. 8:1). By His resurrection we are “Raised up” to “Walk in newness of life”. It is a “New life”, not the old life warmed over. In God’s work of “Sanctification” He makes us holy. There are no left-over’s.

If we have died with Jesus we will also live with Him. If death has no more dominion over Him, it does not have dominion over those who believe. Death is an enemy, but is not to be feared by saints of God. It is inevitable that we will die, but death has no holding power. Being dead to sin we are no longer the servants/slaves of sin.

TAKING AUTHORITY OVER SIN IN OUR LIVES (vv. 11 – 13).

There is a continual struggle with sin, and we have been given the means of having victory over it. Within these three verses we have the answer to the question of why we struggle with sin, even after we have, by faith received God’s gracious gift of salvation. Within these same verses we have the answer of how we can have victory over sin.

Even before Jesus physically died on the cross He knew that His very purpose in being the incarnate Son of God was to become sin for us, receive judgment for our sin, to pour out His life’s blood for our redemption and do it to fulfill the demands of the holy law of God, and for His glory. He, while living for the glory of His Father, had already “Reckoned” Himself dead. Do you know what happened when He “Reckoned” Himself dead for the cause of His Father? He was able to fulfill all His Father’s will in His life.

The very reason people get out of the will of God is because we do not “Reckon” ourselves dead in Christ, and we are alive for ourselves.

The best life that we could live is lived through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Even after a person has received Jesus as Lord and Savior there is still sin in the world. Its temptations are strong; and often much stronger than we are – physically speaking. “Do not let sin…reign in your mortal body…” is speaking of the physical body. By the Spirit of Jesus in us we are to take control of physical appetites that cause us to sin. Some of these appetites are natural – we were created with them – but if left uncontrolled they become perverted and sinful.

One example is our strong desire to eat food, especially when we are hungry, but unless we control our appetite we will become “Gluttons”, make ourselves sick, and become overweight. We must eat to survive, but we must control the eating, and not let the eating control us. Someone has said, “Eat to live, not live to eat”. Everything must come under the reign of our own will as it has been changed by the “Newness of life” in Christ Jesus.

Notice these commands – “Reckon…yourselves…dead”, “Do not let sin reign your mortal body”. These are two directives given to aid us in living in victory over sin. There is a third one, “…Yield yourselves unto God…”. If we continue to desire to do our own thing we have not yet yielded to God’s will. We are still in rebellion against Him.

The very reason sin continues to reign in many professing Christians is because of this very thing. Jesus is not Lord. He is merely a “Life insurance policy”, or “Fire insurance policy”, only to call on in a time of great need and emergency. Like a spare tire. GOD IN A BOX.

Once again we can ask the question, “Who is your master?”

SERVING THE ONE WHOM WE OBEY (vv. 14 – 22).

The law condemns us. It offers us nothing in the way of escaping the wrath of God. It clearly shows us we are sinners unable to please God. As long as anyone is dependent upon the works of the law for the favor of God, they are under the dominion of the law, and are condemned.

Since, by faith, the believer is under grace and not the law we are no longer under the laws condemnation. Under grace we no longer desire to rebel against God. We desire to grow closer to Him, and become more like Jesus in our commitments, and living. As was previously stated, we are dead to sin (v. 11). Why would anyone who has experienced God’s grace, and newness of life in Jesus, desire to continue in sin?

You will, however, give yourself to whomever is your master. If your master is sin, then, you are a slave to sin and death is the continuing and end result. When Jesus is your Master, and in His righteousness, there is continuing growth in Him, and at the end of your physical life eternal life continues with Him.

At one time everyone who is a Christian – born again – was a servant/slave to sin. When the Spirit of God called we heard and obeyed, “That form of doctrine”, which is the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, being made free from sin we are the servants of righteousness. We can only be servants of righteousness as we yield to the One who is the embodiment of Righteousness, and that is Jesus.

The fruit of being a slave of sin is death and shame. “Being made free from sin”, the fruit is holiness. God will do whatever it takes to make us holy. Holiness is accomplished by the work of God, through sanctification. I believe that every event, every test, every trial, and every temptation of every day is a work of sanctification, and we are being made holy for God and His glory. Just as salvation is a work of God’s grace, so too is the work of sanctification a daily grace of God. “Who Is Your Master?”

WAGES OF SIN; AND THE GIFT OF GOD (v. 23).

This verse has long been one within the passages of Scriptures which are used in what has been called “THE ROMAN ROAD” for leading others to faith in Jesus.

We hear of “Wages” in every day living. If one has a job, vocation, avocation, or occupation, they know what ‘wages’ are. Wages are given for what has been earned and deserved. Humanity without God is a dying race. There is no life for we humans apart from God. Even physical life, as short as it is, is given by Him. He gives life and He takes it away.

Every one of the members of the human race is born in a condemned state – apart from God and is dying. God offers us a personal relationship with Him in order that we might glorify Him, and live. If we reject God’s free gift of grace we only get what we were born deserving – death; eternal separation from God, and Hell.

There are two absolutes given in this verse. 1) If you continue in your sin, and rebellion against God; death awaits you; 2) If you receive, by faith, Jesus Christ, believing He died and rose again for the glory of the Father, and has declared you justified and righteous by God, you have eternal life.

WHO IS YOUR MASTER?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unique Saving Faith

This began our study of Romans chapter four.  We covered the first four verses.

Unique – Saving Faith

The Outline is for Romans 4:1-25

OUTLINE –

I. AN EXAMPLE OF A UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).
III. THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO WHAT WE HAVE INVESTED OR PUT TO THE ACCOUNT (vv. 9-12).
IV. THIS RECKONING OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).
V. IT IS THE RECKONING OF GOD HIMSELF; NO HUMAN WORKS ARE CALLED FOR (vv. 18-25).

It was, and probably still is, a popular belief among Jews of Paul’s day and Jews and non-Jews of our day to believe that Abraham was declared righteous by God due to his obedience. Paul puts the record straight.

How were people of the Old Testament saved? Was it by complete obedience to God’s law? Was it by the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs, etc.? What do the Scriptures say?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20).

“Abraham believed God…” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6-9).

No one has ever been saved by keeping the law, no one will ever be saved by keeping the law. To see that it is by faith in God alone that saves, God gives us ample Scriptures to prove it. For example Psalm 32:1-2; and Hebrews 11.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, David, Solomon, etc. are all evidences of justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They believing what would be; we believing what has been and shall be.

There are three words in this study which stand out as a theme. The first word is ‘Reckoned’ found in verses 4, 9, and 10. The second word is ‘Impute’, is used six times, in verses 6, 8, 11, 22, 23, and 24. The third word is ‘counted’, it is used only twice. They all come from the same Greek word logizomai – log-id’-zom-ahee – of these words are terms for accounting. God’s declaring us righteous, and justified.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).

Salvation by grace through faith is unique – one of a kind. There is nothing like it in religion. Grace is not possible by work. If it is not by faith it is not grace.

Since many of the Jews believed that Abraham was justified by works Paul realized that this fallacy needed correction. If Abraham was justified (declared righteous by God) by his works he would then have a reason to boast. His boasting, of course, would have to be before men. He would not glory before God. God’s glory is a glory of its own. Man’s glory cannot match the glory of God.

God delights in those who believe in Him. Those who realize they are weak and helpless to save themselves. Those who have no one else in which to turn, but Him. Those whose hearts are broken and shattered because they realize there is no other hope by Him. Those who have reached the bottom of the bottom, the lowest low. These realize then, God is my hope, my strength, song, salvation, my very source of peace, life and joy.

“A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

When God called Abraham to leave his native land he obeyed, and left. Now understand, Abraham was at that time what the Jews would call a Gentile – there were no Jews. In his culture they worshiped idols, and were despicable in their behavior. Somehow in the midst of all this darkness God shined brightly His light into the life of Abraham, he saw, he heard, and he left this land of despicable sin and shame – the Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31). He even came out with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and his wife Sarah as well as others who are unnamed.

If you heard God speak for the first time would you get up and leave your home, friends, ownership of your land, business, etc. to obey God? Many will not do that whose lives they say belong to Him. Abraham did. How did he do it? He believed God, then he put one foot in front of the other; over and over again. Faith is the end of any attempt to gain God’s favor on any personal merit. If you could gain God’s favor by personal merit it would be by works not grace, therefore, if the works ceased, so too would the favor of God.

When a man or woman takes on a job (work) he/she expects to be paid. The employer is indebted to the employee until the employee receives his/her wages. In like fashion if we worked for our salvation God would be indebted to us until the debt was paid. God is indebted to no one. He did not, nor does not even owe us the possibility of salvation. In His grace He paid our sin debt, and then, when we believe He declares us righteous. What wonderful grace.

“Wonderful grace of Jesus; greater than all my sin. How can my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Gives Up #3

We have been studying the first chapter of Romans, and have made it all the way through verse 27 as of the 16th of August.

In looking at these previous verses we have seen What Happens When God Gives Up?

Truth is repressed by unrighteousness (vv.18-23);

God releases them to their own decay and filth of immorality (vv. 24-25);

God releases them to shameful passions (vv. 26-27).

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26-27 (KJV).

These ‘vile affections’, ’shameful passions’ are the shameful acts of homosexuality. Women with women going against the God created order. Women are usually the last to fall morally.

“Men with men” against the nature created in them.

This debauchery certainly reaps what it sows. (v. 27b).

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galations 6:7).

Physical and bodily problems. Sexually transmitted diseases one of which is AIDS, and it has no cure. Before this disease took on political overtones it was known as GRIDS “Gay Related Imunno Dificiency Syndrome”. There is certainly spiritual blindness.

God “gives them up” when they refuse Him. This abhorrent behavior does not cause God’s judgment, but is the result of God’s already judging. His judgment is already on us, when His hand or restraint is gone from such wicked behavior. This decadence will be judged in and by the hand of God. It actually shows us the levels of wickedness humankind will sink when left without God’s restraints.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Empowering Confidence

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).

One thing every Christian needs is confidence in God’s gospel. Believe it is the only means by which you are saved for all eternity from sin, its darkness, damnation, and death; and saved to Christ Jesus. Being completely unashamed to share it with others. Being ashamed is like saying we are not exactly sure of its power. When you are confident in the gospel you are willing to risk everything for the Christ of the gospel.

The gospel is the only power which transforms people from unrighteousness to righteousness – the unjust to just.

An adulterer becomes pure and his/her life becomes pure and becomes a loving adoring husband/wife – he/she seeks purity because they have a heart for Christ.

A gossip becomes a person who seeks to control her/his tongue and to speak good rather than evil of others.

A murderer is no longer a killer, but rather, a caring, concerned human being.

All sinners – which is all people – gain control over those old sinful passions and lust which control us.

This empowering helps us see it is for all who will believe. God does not play favorites – nor should we. If God does favor one over another it is in favor of those who are weak and humble themselves. “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are , extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14).

From beginning to end righteousness is by faith. Righeousness comes only from God – for He alone is righteousness. “Just” is another term for righteousness. Believing God is faith and comes to the individual by an act of God’s grace, through the Holy Spirit. Not only are we saved by faith, but “The just shall live by faith”. Not by any works of moral goodness. Not by any liturgy and/or religion. By faith in the works of Jesus Christ alone. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5). True faith produces works that glorify God.

In conclusion, we must be confident in the power of the gospel; that it is the only means by which a wicked, sinful, fallen race, called the human race, can be delivered from the bondage of sin, its condemnation, and death. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is the power which can change the heart and life of any man, woman, boy or girl into the image of Jesus Christ.

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE GREATEST POWER KNOWN ON EARTH.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Ready to Preach the Gospel

Romans 1:8 – 15

Praying for others is an expression of concern for them, and of trusting them to His care. It is first of all, for God’s guidance, providence, and personal spiritual growth. Secondly, that their witness [ good witness] may be seen and spoken of by all.

Prayer lets others know you are praying for them. We encourage others in the faith for the believer, and lets the lost know you are concerned for their eternal well being. It bonds the people with one another and to the one praying for them. In the Latter (above): it give strength for greater service.

In prayer we accept God’s grace toward all (v. 12). Our faith is mutual – no one is greater than the other. The faith that saves me is the faith that saves you – the faith from God.

In prayer we acquire a desire for spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit characterize the Spirit-led believer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23. Righteous actions. ” For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. ” Philippians 4:16-17. ” By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15. We desire to see people come to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. These fruits will be seen, known and recognized by others.

We have a glorious message to proclaim (vv. 14-15). To the Greeks – these were considered the civilized and wise. To the barbarians – considered unwise because they could not speak the Greek language nor were they assimilated to Greek culture. The message of the gospel is for the “Wise” and for the “Unwise” – the culturally correct and incorrect – the rich and the poor. We ought always: by prayer, supplication, and the study of God’s Word, be ready to preach the gospel wherever God may call us.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Salvation Through Works

Romans 1:1 – 7

Romans – God’s Gospel of Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless you richly.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Always, Up to Date

“For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:6 (KJB)

Old, outdated, and antiquated are words we might hear from some older people about the Bible.  We would probably hear it more from the mouths of the young, liberally “educated” college student.

The kings of Judah and Israel before Hezekiah were probably thinking they needed to be more “Up to date”, and trying to fit in with nations around them.  After all the Law of Moses, and the commandments were hundreds of years old.  They were written for the wilderness wanderers.  What does that word have to do with me today; or the people I lead?

Israel had fallen. They had been taken captive into Assyria.  It was because they had forsaken GOD, and His commandments (18:11-12).  So how does this coincide with people of 2018, and days and years to come?

My answer to that is this:  If it was good enough for Moses, Joshua, and Hezekiah; Hezekiah after hundreds of year; then it is good enough for me.  Let me get one thing straight though.  It is certain that not one of us can be saved by keeping of the Law of God.  The Law was given to show us our weaknesses.  It is solely by the grace of God that we can be in the presence of God, approaching His throne, and truly worshiping Him.

The word of God, the Law of God is as up to date as next weeks Newspaper, television News broadcast, and it is as up to date as next years Person of the Year publication of Time Magazine. The word of God is still like a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

For Hezekiah, king of Judah loving GOD, and keeping His commandments was not a duty.  He loved GOD, he loved GOD’S word, and he lived accordingly.  Was Hezekiah perfect?  No!  He too was dependent upon the grace of GOD.

The full grace of GOD was displayed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross hundreds of years later (over 600 years), and Jesus was buried, and He rose from the grave.  It may have been around 2000 plus years ago; but He is still the only One who can save.

Old, Outdated, Antiquated?  Maybe we are the ones who have been outdated…  Something to think about.

Speak the Truth

“And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.” 1 Kings 22:14 (KJB)

The king of Judah, the southern kingdom; and the king of Israel, the northern kingdom were joining together to fight a common enemy who was Syria.  Jehoshaphat the southern king went to visit Ahab.  The characters and hearts of these two kings were completely opposed to the other.  Jehoshaphat was  a king who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD (22:42-43).  Ahab was so wicked he sold himself to do wickedness against the LORD (21:20, 25).

Micaiah, whose name means “Who is like the LORD?” is the same as that of Micah, the name of the prophet Micah of the Minor Prophets of the Bible.  I do not think they are one and the same.  Micaiah was a captive of king Ahab.  Ahab hated Micaiah, because he never spoke favorably to what Ahab desired.  He spoke what God said.

In this cooperative effort Jehoshaphat wants to hear what God says about going to battle against  Syria.  Four hundred prophets; and I would put a question mark around the word “Prophets” in that statement.  They only spoke what this king wanted to hear.  Jehoshaphat realizing that calls for a different prophet.  Micaiah is called, told to speak what the others have spoken, and he says the words of the verse above.

O how we need those who stand in pulpits today to speak the word of God, rather than the words of men.  We are told by Paul the apostle to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).  Ahab did not care for the truth.  Notice his words when Micaiah uses sarcasm to him what he wants to hear, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD?” (22:16)

The Christian pastor, preacher, deacon, Bible study teacher, bus driver, etc. needs the resolve, and to resolve to speak the word of God which is truth.  It is the only truth worth speaking.  Do not add to it.  Do not take away from it.

The Truth of God is powerful to change lives.  It is powerful to change your life.  Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the Living Truth (J0hn 14:6).  He is alive and well. He loves you so much that He went willingly to an old rugged cross, laid down His life, died, was buried, and He rose again declaring the victory over sin and death.  That is the Truth.

Resolve today to receive the truth, live the truth, and speak the truth in love for Christ.

That the World Will Know

“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.” 1 Kings 8:60  (KJB)

King Solomon had just ended a prayer during the dedication of the temple. During this dedication he now speaks to the people, and informs them that through these things which he mentioned in prayer the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God…  What are those things by which they may know?  It has to do with the way God loves His people:

  1. He chastises or disciplines His people when they sin;
  2. He hears and answers their prayers when they pray;
  3. He forgives their sins and delivers them out of their troubles;
  4. He keeps them in His hand, and protects them in their enjoying their blessings;
  5. He always reminds them, lets them know that there is no other God; all the others are powerless and false.

Now the question could come to us who are Christians, “How can all the people of the earth know that the LORD is God through us?”  We know and love Jesus, yet, the above things are for you and me as well.

It does say in the book of Hebrews chapter 12…

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8

Just wanted to remind you that no Christian can sin without consequences. We still are disciplined for our sin.

Let us let the world know of God’s holiness, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. The cross of Jesus is where all of these were put on display by holy God.  Let the world know.

Blessed By The Presence

“And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household.” 2 Samuel 6:11 (KJB)

When God is present in an individual’s life that individual is blessed by God.  When that person is blessed by God their whole family is also blessed by Him.

The ark of the covenant was the presence of God as Israel journeyed through the wilderness for forty years.  Is still, during David’s reign, as David conquers Jerusalem, and calls it the “City of David”.

I do not know about you but I enjoy, appreciated, and I am thankful everyday for the blessings of God.  What we must love though is not the blessings, but the Blesser.

Kind David, in a hurry, decided to move the ark to Jerusalem, and did not seek out the proper mode of transportation.  He chose rather to move it the same way it was moved the last time it was moved; and that was the Philistine way – on a cart pulled by cows (1 Samuel 6:4-12).  God’s people must always seek to do things in God’s prescribed order.  Because of David’s grave error Uzzah died.

Until David discovered the God-way of moving the ark Obed-Edom and his family were greatly blessed by God’s presence.

The ark is a material object made of wood and gold, with the mercy seat resting atop it made of solid gold.  The wood represents the perfect, sinless, guiltless man, and the gold is a picture of His Deity.  It is an Old Testament picture or type of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  And HIs presence among His people.

When Jesus came and gave Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the world, paying our sin debt to God, He has made it possible for Adamkind to be in the very presence of God, and He with us.  Every moment of every day He is present with us.

Be blessed by the presence of God in your life through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is God the Son.

The Battles Within

“…The LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.” 2 Samuel 3:39 b  (KJB)

There are battles within kingdoms of men. There are battles which occur within each individual man and woman.

King Saul had died in the battle with the Philistines by falling on his own sword, for fear that the enemy would mistreat him if he were taken alive.  David had been chosen as King of Judah, but the other tribes were still being led by the General of Saul’s army, and he had appointed the young son of Saul, Ishbosheth, as king.  That is an inside battle.  A nation at war against itself.

Abner had been murdered by Joab, David’s General, because Joab because in a battle between the two factions Abner had killed Asahel Joab’s brother.  Joab killed Abner in hatred, revenge, and at a time David had made peace with Abner.  It was not the act of King David.  It was the act of a vengeful Joab.

Joab’s act was a wicked act against God and King David.  The words of David in the Scripture of 2 Samuel 3:39 are words that are just and right.

Again the reader is reminded that there are consequences to our actions.  Good from good.  Evil from evil.  We all reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  We need; all of us who take a breath of air; need to flee to the cross of  Jesus Christ where, there alone, our sin debt is paid in full.

“The LORD shall repay the evildoer according to his wickedness.”

Our hope; mine and yours; lies in the death, the burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

Sleeping

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 26 – 28…

“So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them.” 1 Samuel 26:12 (KJB)
“For they were all asleep because a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen on them.” 26:12b (NKJB)

As you can see King Saul was caught in one of those vulnerable situations we mentioned yesterday.  It does not seem that there is any more vulnerable time than when we are sleeping.  We need sleep for our bodies to recuperate, and renew for a new day.

The account of these words are such that we can learn about the sleep that occurs here.

David and Abishai – brother of Joab – were in Saul’s camp while…

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That all the Earth May Know

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading for this Resurrection Sunday is 1 Samuel 17 – 19…

“…That all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:46 (KJB)

This is the story of David and his defeat  of the Philistine giant Goliath who was defying the army of God – Israel – thus defying God Himself.  David loved God.  God especially loved David.

David was determined that Goliath was as good as dead, with no head.  He was especially determined that “All the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”  David’s faith is inspiring, and gives us courage to face whatever lies ahead.  Unlike King Saul who sat in his tent shaking in his sandals.

Something everyone needs to understand about faith is is that faith is not believing something so strongly  that we make it so; it is believing that what God says and directs us…

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The Issue of Anger

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 11 – 13…

“And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.” 1 Samuel 11:6 (KJB)

The person who is never angry never truly loves.  I can just about hear some readers here saying, “Wait just one minute.” In a tone of anger probably.

Reading the text from Scripture above caused me to think about anger.  I have heard some say that anger is bad.  I certainly cannot agree with that statement because God is angry with evil everyday (Psalm 7:11); Jesus was angry at least twice at the temple – the first time early in His ministry (John 2:14) and the second time, possibly in His final week before He was crucified (Matthew 21:12).

I heard a pastor a few years ago say, “You can tell the character of a man by what makes…

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Serve the LORD Only

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from 1 Samuel 5 – 7…

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’
Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the LORD only.” 1 Samuel 7:3-4 (KJB)

When a people group or one person get away from God that group or person needs to return to the Lord.  The people of Israel had drifted away from God and worshiped false gods of the people of the land that they had won.

These were snares and thorns to their lives; from loving God the LORD, and being blessed by Him.  There is no mixing of…

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He Trembled for the Ark of God

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 2 – 4 for today’s reading…

“And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.”  1 Samuel 4:12-13 (KJB)

The ark of God for the children of Israel was the presence of God in their midst. They had, sadly, gotten to the state of mind that it was more an object of superstition; a rabbit’s foot; than it was the presence of God.  Yet Eli’s heart trembled for the ark of God.  It had been carried onto a battlefield which was going to be lost to the Philistines, and…

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Going Home with the King

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 8 – 10 for today…

“And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, ‘How shall this man save us?’ And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.” 1 Samuel 10:26-27 (KJB)

I will let the words of Alexander MacLaren speak for today devotion…

The ‘manner of the kingdom,’ which Samuel wrote and laid up before the Lord, was probably not the same as ‘the manner of the king’ (1Sa_8:9-18), but a kind of constitution, or solemn statement of the principles which were to govern the monarchy. The reading in 1Sa_10:26 should probably be ‘the men of valour,’ instead of ‘a band of men.’ They were brave men, ‘whose hearts God had touched.’ Now that Saul was chosen by God, loyalty to God…

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Give Your Child Away

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading today from Ruth 2 – 1 Samuel 1…

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

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

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

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When There is no Rule of Law

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 17 – 19 for today…

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

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

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

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From Whence does Your Strength Come?

Shiloah Baptist Church

Read about Samson in Judges 14 – 16…

“And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, ‘O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.'”  Judges 16:28 (KJB)

The man knew from whence his strength came.  Do you?  We often give credit to our physical health, and weight lifting, and exercise. We have even been known to give all the credit to doctors and such. Samson may have thought it came from his hair.

Samson was probably a strong man physically, but he was not a “Super power”.  He had been give a gift from God, and from birth.

His parents only child.  He was promised to them by the LORD, and they took the Nazarite vow for him, which included never cutting his hair, and…

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His Name, Wonderful

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 11 – 13…

“And the Angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after My name, seeing it is secret?” Judges 13:18 (KJB)

“And the Angel of the LORD said to him, ‘Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (NKJB)

The Angel of the LORD had appeared to the woman who was the wife of Manoah, and he was working in the field.  They had no children, now, the Man had came and told her they were going to have a son.

This Man was none other than the pre-incarnate Son of God, God the Son with all power, wisdom, and knowledge of the Godhead.  He is worshiped.  Manoah is directed, commanded to offer the sacrifice to God, and it seems that He was inferring to Manoah that He was more than a man.

What is the deal about His name? …

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Much Needed Repentance

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read for today Judges 9 – 10…

“And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, ‘We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.'” Judges 10:15  (KJB)

Since the death of Gideon the tribes of Israel had grossly strayed from the path the LORD had laid out for them, and had turned to the worship of foreign gods, which means they had turned their backs on the LORD.  The LORD God was the One who had delivered them from Egypt, gave them deliverance through crossing the Red Sea, provided water from the Rock, given them manna for bread in the wilderness, and protected them from many enemies in their journey.  Yet they had gone astray in the land of Promise.

Reading chapters 9 – 10 of Judges we find departure, defeat, and chaos.  They are distressed by…

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Women of Bravery

Shiloah Baptist Church

In your Bible Reading today please read Judges 4 – 6..

“So let all Thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love Him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.”  Judges 5:31 (KJB)

The above verse is the final verse of the Song of Deborah.  The song was sung by Deborah, one of the Judges-Saviors of Israel whom God called and used to deliver Israel from bondage of the surrounding enemies who caused them much sorrow and grief – in loss of crops, animals, etc..  This was due to Israel’s disobedience to the LORD’S commands to rid and destroy all the inhabitants of the land, and the cities.

Deborah was not the only woman involved in this story, this victory over this enemy, Sisera.  She had chosen Bara to go to war, but he did not feel…

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The Chastening of the LORD

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read Judges 1 – 3…

“And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”  Judges 3:4  (KJB)

How the enemy gets his foot in our door, and into the house is evident from the reading of the morning.

It begins in an unbelieving heart; not believing what God has said, not practicing what He says, and teaching of the children is neglected (Judges 2:10); for they did not know the LORD.

These [children] not only neglected to rid the land and cities they had conquered of their evil inhabitants, but began practicing their evil religion and worshiped the false gods of the land.  It is a good thing to know that God will work in and with His children in disciplining them to get them where He desires…

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Trust

Shiloah Baptist Church

“There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”   Joshua 21:45  (KJB)

If there is any one thing the world needs today it is for substance, truth, integrity, and the fulfilling of words spoken.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6), then, He went to the cross and died for us.

The very last phrase of our text above says, “All came to pass”.  Every word God had spoke through Moses had come to pass, just as He had said.

We can trust what God says because He has done all that He said, or it will be done in the not too distant future.  Some of the things He has said are, at this moment, being fulfilled.

“Not a…

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The Enemy and Us

Shiloah Baptist Church

“Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. Yet it came to pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute; but did not utterly drive them out.”  Joshua 17:12-13

God’s command for Israel when they entered the Promised Land was to deal strongly with the enemy, and destroy the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.  We must understand these Canaanites were given, by God, over 400 years to repent and change their ways, yet they did not.

Now, we learn of tribes of Israel opening the door to the enemy of good and right because of their fear of iron chariots and horses; and due to their own weaknesses and lack of faith in God.  I do not mean to judge Israel.  I find in them the same weakness…

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Beauty and Holiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beauty and Holiness in Christ Jesus.

A Bold Request

Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in my integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”  Psalm 26:1-2 (KJB)

It is a bold request indeed to ask God first “Judge me”, then to request, “Examine me…”  It is a needed thing to do that.  Do I do that?  I have.  Even to pray, “Lord, whatever it takes to make me like Jesus; do it.”  That is a bold request which will definitely put you to a test.

It is GOD who knows us best, yet He loves us most, and desires to work in our lives to accomplish His will and purposes to bring us to Himself, and His glory.  He also will use us to bring others to Himself, and do the same in them.

The apostle Paul has written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  2 Corinthians 13:5

The LORD will do in our lives whatever it takes to get us where He wants us to be.  Be prepared.  Draw near to God.

The Shepherd, His Sheep, and His Leadership

The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters.”  Psalm 23:1-2 (KJV)

I have never had any thing to do with sheep.  I am so ignorant of sheep, that I must rely upon what I have read by written by others and what I can see in fields that I pass occasionally. Sheep need a shepherd to care for them.  People are likened to sheep in Scripture at times. In this first verse of the best known Psalm David says, “The LORD is my shepherd…” so he is likening himself to a sheep.

By the second verse we can see two different things.  They need a shepherd to lead them to pasture to eat.  It has been said that sheep will eat grass down to the dirt, and practically kill it off, if they are not moved to green pasture.  If you will read the gospel account of Jesus feeding the 5,000 men, not counting women and children (Matthew 14:15-21) you will read in verse 19 that the narrative reads, “And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass…”; the gospel of Mark even says “upon the green grass” (Mark 6:39) and John simply says, “Now there was much grass in the place” (John 6:10). You talk of a shepherd leading the sheep to green pastures; Jesus is the Shepherd.  He gives His sheep plenty to eat, and then He gives us plenty of good clean water to drink.

The sustenance of the Lord is bountiful.  It is said that sheep are afraid of moving water, so the shepherd leads them to smooth, still water; not stagnant, that would make them sick, but still, smooth, fresh, and clean water. For refreshment, and the nourishment their bodies need.  If a sheep needs to cross the water the shepherd will lead them to still water for crossing as well, where it is shallow enough as to not soak up in their fleece as to load them down and drown them.

The LORD is the Lamb of God laid down His life for me.  He is my Shepherd too; who leads me to green pastures and I can lie down in them comfortably, and have food for the day; then, He leads me to the right place for a refreshing drink and for the purpose of life.

The Shepherd is the Lamb.  He is the Bread of Life. He is the Light of the world.  Jesus Christ is the Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. He gave His life for His sheep on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  You can trust the Shepherd to provide what you need.

The ONE Who Inhabits Praises

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:1-3 (KJV)

This is named as another Psalm of David.  Now, whatever David was experiencing I do not think he realized this was going to be a song the Messiah would sing; but it was, and it is His Song.  You can see the words of this first verse as Jesus was coming out of the darkness of the crucifixion, and they are words even David could not express except the LORD had given them. Yet, how could David know the intensity, the suffering, the agony both on the cross and in the garden of Gethsemane?

Both David and the Messiah understood the fact that praises only belong to the One who inhabits those praises.  That is God.

Jesus as He willingly laid down His life on the cross knew the agony, the pain, and the suffering that was coming, yet He laid it down.  The pain worse than death by the tormenting beatings, the nails in His hands and feet, and even the spear in His side was the pain He felt when in that darkness He experienced what life and death was like without God, His Father.

For the very first time in His life Jesus experienced being apart from His Father and this is the first prayer He prays where He refers to His Father as “My God, My God…”.  Even in the prayer He still hangs on to the truth of resurrection, faith in the One who will raise Him is faith in the the One who inhabits the praises of Israel; the praises of His people.

No matter what you are going through today you can believe, and know that the One who knows you loves you best, and He has already suffered in what you are suffering.  He knows your pain.  He knows your sin and has paid the price to redeem you from all your sin.

The Shout of Creation

“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” Psalm 19:2-6 (KJV)

The declaration of creation is that God is. There are those who look at the order of this ordered creation and somehow, though very illogically, proclaim that “It just happened”.  Really?

Would you say that your new car was formed when a tornado tragically went through a salvage yard, or even a steel mill, and suddenly that car landed there fully formed.  Now, that is just plain illogical; if not just plumb dumb.

Creation shouts of the glory of God.  The size of the universe is beyond my comprehension.  Yet we have scientists who are trying to figure out just how large it is.  All they have is a wild guess.  No matter how big the universe; God is bigger.  He created it.  He spoke the world, and the stars, the planets, and any other solar system which exist, into existence (Psalm 33:6).

The apostle Paul clearly proclaims…

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

“They that are without excuse” are those who cannot hear the shout of creation telling loudly and clearly that God is.  The creation is even groaning waiting for the deliverance from corruption (Romans 8:21-22).  Do you not hear the groaning in the fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the evil of Adamkind in the world.

When you have one of our own political parties that are more concerned will illegal aliens in our nation, and definitely not concerned about the legal murder of 63,000,000 unborn babies; there is something desperately wrong, and evil in the minds and hearts of this world, and this country.

Can you hear the shout of creation?  Can you hear the shout of the gospel of Jesus Christ that a good, righteous, holy, just, and innocent gave His life for the evil, unrighteous, unholy, unjust, and guilty race of Adamkind?  He died, was buried, and He rose again.  He is returning again to receive His own unto Himself.  O, will you hear Him?