Believing All Things Written in the Law and the Prophets

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

The apostle Paul is being tried for his faith in Jesus Christ, the crucified, buried, and risen One who forever lives and reigns as King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.

His beliefs are based on the Old Testament; the Law and the Prophets.  That does not exclude the history or the wisdom books either.  There are many Christians today who want to say and teach that the Old Testament is not needed.  It is the only Bible, the only Scripture that they had.  It is the only Scripture which Jesus knew and read.  It is the only Scripture which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John relied on.  It is the Scripture which John the Baptist preached.

Preach and teach the New Testament Yes; but do not neglect the Old.

I have been spending this year staying with the New Testament.  I felt I needed to get more familiar with the words of Jesus, the apostles, and including the apostle Paul.  I will not shun, neither neglect the Old Testament though.  Without the Old there would be no New.

Someone has said, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”  A great thought.

There is a resurrection of the dead; both of the just and the unjust.  Which resurrection will you be part of?  We are only made just by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Eyes of the LORD

Proverbs 15:1-33

1. THE ALL-SEARCHING EYES OF THE LORD (vv. 1-7) focus 3).
He watches from a “lofty tower” or a very high place.

“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. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

22 times in the Old Testament is the “Eyes of the LORD” written and only once in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:12
How John describes the eyes of the LORD – “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;” Revelation 1:14

2. THE SACRIFICE AND WAY THAT IS ABOMINATION TO THE LORD (vv. 8-10) focus 8-9).
Think of Cain’s sacrifice. Think of Saul’s sacrifice of disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22). God is not delighted by wicked sacrifice (Jeremiah 6:20).

3. THE INESCAPABLE PRESENCE OF THE LORD (vv. 10-24)focus v. 11).
Verse 11-

“If God knows the secrets of the world beyond the grave, much more does he know the secret thoughts of men on earth. The heart is the source of action. (see Mat_15:19, etc.)” Pulpit Commentary

4. THE DESTROYED HOUSE (v. 25).
The house of pride will be torn down, destroyed.
Psalm 52:1-5; 138:6; Isaiah 2:12; 1 Peter 5:5

“The proud, self-confident man, with his family and household and wealth, shall be rooted up. The heathen saw how retribution overtook the arrogant.” Pulpit Commentary

5. THE ABOMINATION AND THE PLEASANT WORDS (vv. 26-28)focus 26).
The righteous or good man or woman thinks before they speak. The tongue; a mighty force; will show the heart of an individual.

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37 (KJB)

6. THE PRAYER THE LORD WILL HEAR (vv. 29-33)focus v. 29).
“A MAN”S NEARNESS TO GOD IS TO BE MEASURED BY HIS CHARACTER.” Pulpit Commentary. Long prayers are not a sign of one’s nearness to God, neither are big and impressive words.

God is impressed with the humble and contrite heart. See Psalm 51:17

When GOD Seems to be Silent

Unto You will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if You be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto You, when I lift up my hands toward Your holy oracle.”  Psalm 28:1-2 (KJB)

This Psalm of David is the prayer of a man who is crying out to God; maybe even yelling out, shouting out to God for a hearing of his requests, or “supplications”, as he states it, which is his earnest prayer.  An individual who has a real need which they see, feel, or fear; one who knows the Almighty will go to Him with that need just as David, and plead, yearn, beg for an answer to their prayer.

In the New Testament we are told…

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  James 5:16

Now, let us get something straight.  We do have someone to pray to.  It is not prayer that is the power.  It is the One who gives the power to whom we direct our prayers.  If our hearts are not of Him, His word, His way, His will, His heart and mind, then, we will not get an answer.

I have made a commitment to the Lord which may seem empty to some, maybe brave and bold and dangerous to others.  A few years ago I was praying, and said to Him, “If you never again answer a prayer of mine, I will still trust in You.”  I can still say that.  I know that He never fails to accomplish, to finish His word. He does what He says He will do.

What do you do when God is silent?  Keep on praying and keep on trusting in Him.

 

Greater Voice, Greater Name

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4 (KJV)

The greatest theme throughout all of Scripture is the person and name of Jesus.  He is the central character and person of the whole of the Bible including the Old Testament.  The first few verses of Hebrews tells us about the One who is the reason, and cause for all good things, including the creation of all that is.

When the Lord GOD spoke in the ages previous to the New Testament He spoke through the law and the prophets.  The people would not hear them in many cases.  They would persecute, and even kill those men who opposed the people’s own lawless agendas; and spoke God’s word concerning their hearts, souls, and minds.

To redeem mankind God sent His only Son – the One whom He sent who “in these last days” has spoken to us through.  To answer a question that one might ask; “When did the last days begin?”:  the answer to that question is; when Jesus came the first time as a baby in the manger.  I would have no argument with someone who would say that “The last days began on the day of our Lord’s crucifixion or resurrection”.  At either rate, it is closely tied to the appearance of the Incarnate God Jesus Christ.

These verses are a great strengthening to the teaching of the divinity of Christ.  He is the brightness of the glory of God.  He is the express image, or exact representation of the person of God.  God is a person, not a power; though He certainly is a power to be reckoned with.  He is God.  Our Creator.  Our Sustenance.  Our Strength.  Our Sword.  Our Shield.  Our Hope.

If anyone refuses the words of Jesus they refuse their last and final chance for life with Him through all eternity.  Believe Him today.  Receive Him.  Follow Him.

Corrected in Measure

The people of God. Jacob and his descendants are never without the discipline [correction] of God.  That correction shows, in fact, that they are the children of God.  The same is true of those who are genuine Christians; those who have been regenerated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son.

That correction is not for destruction, but a guided, blessed comfort, rest, peace which is indescribable by mere words.  Let us hear from the prophet Jeremiah…

But fear not thou, O My servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear thou not, O Jacob My servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished. Jeremiah 46:27-28 (KJV)

After giving a declaration from God of the demise of Egypt for their treatment of Jacob/Israel the LORD God gives a word of comfort to His people.  Here we see that promise “Fear not…” once again.  This fear not is for the people of God who are descendants of Jacob; yet we as Christians can rest in this promise as well, because we can get assurance from it that God does know how to deliver His people in all days and all ages.

Hear what Peter, the New Testament apostle of Jesus Christ wrote…

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished… 2 Peter 2:9

He is speaking of the deliverance of Lot from the destruction of Sodom, yet the word holds true for us all.  We can trust God with our future.  We can trust Him with our health.  We can trust Him with our finances – but that does not give us license for frivolous spending or waste.  Frivolousness in anything will be judged.  Be wise.

For the child of God; He does not correct for destruction, but for deliverance, freedom, rest, comfort and peace.  Find rest, forgiveness and peace with God through  Jesus Christ His Son who died on the cross as the atonement for our sin, was buried, and bodily arose from that grave; and is forever alive giving us fellowship with God.

When GOD’S Children Go Astray

There is too much false teaching going around.  Teaching which says to us everyday… Live the way you want to, do your own thing, do not worry about it…  God is a loving God.   He does not judge.  He loves.

If a confessor of Jesus Christ can live in sin, and live without shame, guilt, or condemnation; or the judgment of God; then that being is not a child of God.  God works in His children; correcting, instructing, convicting when we sin.  And if we sin, and refuse to repent; that is, change our minds toward Him; then there will be judgment in accordance with that sin.

Hear what the Spirit of God says in the book of Judges…

“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.”  Judges 2:11-13 (KJV)

Every Christian today loves the positive promises of the Old Testament; but very often forget about the warnings, and the judgments on the people of God.  If you will genuinely read the Scriptures and hear what God says you will be able to see and hear what God expects from us… To love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  Israel; in the verses above turned their backs on God to foreign gods, which were no gods; just wood, and stone.  And we think we live in a civilized and god-fearing culture and society.

Many professing Christians have turned to the worship of Baal, by accepting other religious gods and believes; trusting more in our technology, medicine, finances, and global unity.  Then they begin following the godesses of Canaan [Ashtaroth], in immoral, filthy behavior; acting more like animal beings, than the One who created them.  The writer of Psalm 115 and 135 says, “They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusts in them”  115:8, and 135:18.  Become like what you worship if you will, but I pray you choose Jesus the Son of God, God the Son.

If you are in sin, and are convicted of its wrong Jesus is waiting to receive you back; to cleanse you, and restore you to fellowship with Him.  If you feel no remorse or guilt for your sin; maybe until now, then call on the name of Jesus, He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He rose again; He will hear you and forgive you, and cleanse you; and give you the new birth that is only through faith in Him.

Something from the New Testament to remember…

“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8

Turn to the Lord, believe His word, and live by it.  Cleanse your heart.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

The Only Bible They Had

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living / Walking in the Power of the Spirit

For the Christian to accomplish any thing for the glory of the Lord, and not for the glory, or boasting of one’s own self; and/or ego; it must be done by the Spirit of God in us.

It is GOD who gets things done. It is God who saves a soul. It is God who opens eyes to His revelation. It is God who gives understanding and wisdom in the ministry of His Word. How did Jesus live?

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.” Luke 4:14-15 (KJV)

Following His baptism Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). He then proceeded to go to the synagogues teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord; which by the way was the Old Testament. There was no New Testament written at that time. He taught them things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).

In everything Jesus did or said; He did so by the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit of God. He did not move from one place to the other, except by the Spirit. He did not speak a word, except by the Spirit. He did not do any healing without the Spirit of God upon Him.

Hear what Paul the apostle says of the Spirit of God and the Christian,

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galations 5:16

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galations 5:25

This is living as Jesus lived. It is impossible without the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus. Walk in the Spirit; and we will have the Power of the Spirit.

Comfort for the Broken Hearted

“Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:20-21 (KJV)

You have experienced it I am sure. Those times when you think a friend or loved one will stand with you, and for you; and they do not. The Psalmist David was experiencing one of those times when this Psalm was written.

Within it are 5 verses which are quoted in the New Testament concerning the Messiah. He had one of those days too. They gave Jesus vinegar to drink, mixed with gall, but He did not drink it (Matthew 27:34). That was while He was dying on the cross.

Now, what is “Gall”? It is a poisonous, bitter herb. It has come to mean “bitterness” like from others. What is reproach? “To find fault with (a person, group, etc.); blame; censure.” from Dictionary.com.

These words “Reproach”, “Gall” and “Vinegar” show us that the Psalmist was hurting and no one was coming to his aid. We have all felt that way at one time or another. Let us remember our Saviour.

Jesus was a sinless, blameless, faithful Man of God, and Son of God, who did always those things that pleased the Father/God. He was accused of blasphemy against God. He was found guilty of sin, which He was not guilty of. He was given vinegar mixed with gall for “refreshment” while He was suffering. Do you still think you are having a bad day?

Not only all of that, but then, He was rejected by the Father, because He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Can you imagine the most heavenly man who ever walked on earth, being forsaken by all of heaven; when just hours before the angels of heaven were in attention awaiting His call to deliver Him; which did not come; and they now have turned their backs to Him?

If you think you have had it so bad; you have a lot of gall.

But Jesus said,

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus knows your broken heart, your every need, and He will not give you gall or vinegar to drink.

The Perfect Way of God

“As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30 (KJV)

The Person of God is the central character of this text. He is the central Character through the whole of Scripture; both Old and New Testaments.

We see that His way is perfect. He is blameless; and His way is blameless; and all who walk in Him will be blameless.

Next, we see that His Word is “tried” or proven. It forever stands the test of time and of our lives. It is never changing, just as God Himself never changes. He is Immutable; His Word is Immutable as well; therefore He and His word can be trusted. Unlike mankind always changing. The laws of man are ever changing; thus, what can we believe? What can we trust? Who can we trust among humankind who stand on nothing firm, solid, and sure? The Word of God is sure, and will forever stand (Psalm 119:89). It is just as relevant today as it was the day it was penned by the inspired men God used to speak it.

The LORD is our “buckler” our shield. The shield is used to guard the soldier from the blows of the enemy’s weapon, such as a battle axe, or take the blows of the fiery darts which are fired from a distance. The shield of God’s protection will not fail to protect; as long as we are in His way.

Jesus said,

I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. John 14:6

His way is perfect. Walk in Him.  Not one word He has spoke will fail.

Veil on the Face

“And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.” Exodus 34:33-35 (KJV)

Moses would share with the people the words the LORD gave him.  He would speak as he was commanded to speak.  The words he spoke were not easy words; as the words of the LORD are not often easy.

When Moses would speak with Israel he wore a veil over his face.  On first appearance it would appear that Moses put the veil on his face to cover the glow of his countenance, that the people might not fear or cower in his appearance to them.  When we read Paul’s account of this in the New Testament we read,

“And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:13-16 (KJV)

The veil was on the face of Moses so they could not see the glory fading.  Yet, Paul says there is a veil on the hearts of the people of Israel, because they have refused to see Jesus as their Messiah.  Oh how I pray for the removal of that veil, that they might see Jesus, and we are informed by Scripture that one day they will “Look upon Him whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10;  John 19:37;  Revelation 1:7).  They will look and they will believe.

Turn, Oh turn to the Lord Jesus Christ; and live in His glory.  The glory of Christ does not fade away.

 

GOD of the Present

GOD of the Present

 

Exodus 3:1-22

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A. Psalm 78:38

B. Luke 15:20

 

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

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

 

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

Fighting, The Spiritual Warfare

Let me give a disclaimer on the matter of “Spiritual warfare”.  I do not, nor will not claim to be an authority, or even very knowledgeable on the matter of the battle which we as Christians must fight everyday if we are to maintain a proper fellowship with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ.

I do believe Jesus taught us by example how to wage this war against the legions of Hell and their Desperator.  Since he is the agent of despair, doubt, and fear; and a theif, a murderer, and destroyer I believe the name “Desperator” would fit, though I cannot find this term used in a dictionary.  Maybe a new word?  Meaning the chief one who causes despair.  My focus is not, however, upon him, but rather upon the One who brought about his defeat.

The example of Jesus’s battle with the devil begins with,

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred.  And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’  But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’  Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, ‘If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’  Jesus said unto him, ‘It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’   Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, ‘All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.’  Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’  Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.”  Matthew 4:1-11 (KJV)

Upon reading the passage from Matthew’s gospel we see that in Jesus’s weakness following a 40 day 40 night fast the  devil confronts Jesus concerning His identity and person.  I heard one preacher put it like this; “In the first temptation the devil attempts to get to His desire for SURVIVAL; in the second he attempts to get to His desire for SECURITY;  in the third and final temptation he attempts to get at his desire for SUCCESS.  These are seen in each of these temptations.

They are also relevant in light of the temptations which John the apostle mentions…

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  1 John 2:16

and we find these also in the Garden of Eden as Eve is being tempted of the devil through the serpent.

For the Christian to grow more into the image of Christ Jesus we must be knowledgeable of the Word of God; live by it; make it our life daily; ruminate upon it.  In short “Hear, trust, and obey”.

Satan, the devil questions the Sonship of Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…”, then tells him to turn stones into bread to prove it; using the “lust of the flesh” and the need of SURVIVAL,  and Jesus responds with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3).  Then the devil assaults Jesus with a temptation of SECURITY, or “the lust of the eyes”, even using Scripture himself, and once again Jesus quells the temptation with Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:16).  At the final temptation the devil uses SUCCESS, or “the pride of life” in offering Jesus the world; with that again Jesus goes to Scripture, and puts the temptation back on the devil from whence it came (Deuteronomy 6:13).

We can learn from this event in the life of Jesus that there are three basic temptations the devil will hurl at us.  There are are many sins in this world; but all of them are connected to the three.  Jesus gives us a lesson on how to overcome the temptations of the devil.  We must be in the Scriptures – both the Old and New Testaments.  Remember, the only Bible that Jesus had, and the only Bible the apostles had was the Old Testament; and after the establishment of the Church, then the New Testament.

Without one or both of them we will be defenseless against the evil one.  Paul the apostle gives us good advice in Spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-20.  I am fearful that we Christians; at least far too many of us have “Walked into the enemies camp, and laid our weapons down”; and to our peril.

Let’s take them up again; beginning with the Word of God, and making it our Word from God daily.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Adam’s Race and God’s Word

In the fall of Adam that could have been the end of the human race.  The Creator could have not only cast the man and woman out of the beautiful and bountiful, sustaining garden; but He could have wiped them from history and therefore the whole human event would have been ended.  God, however, loved Adam and Eve, provided them garments made from animal skins (Genesis 3:21) for covering, and drove them from the garden.

Then, we see…

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: and the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: and all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” Genesis 5:1-5 (KJV)

and we find that the Creator has a plan for the whole race of human kind.  “This is the book of the generations of Adam.”  we are told.  Previous to this we are told of Adam’s and Eve’s two sons, Cain and Abel, and due to sin Cain murdered Abel; then Cain was banished to roam the region as a vagabond, and was no longer able to be a farmer.  All hope may have seemed lost to the first parents.  They had a promise from God (Genesis 3:15) of One who would crush the head of the serpent or Satan.  Since Abel was dead, Cain banished and evil, then, what now?

By the above verses we see God blessed Adam and Eve with another godly son.  It is not by accident that the closing verse of chapter 4 tells us, “…Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” and then, goes into chapter 5 with the genealogy of Adam.  Despite the fall, and the evil in man’s heart, God provides a Redeemer, and we will see many redeemers throughout the Old Testament; but each one is only a portrait of the genuine article.

We find that fulfilled in the New Testament in the birth of a baby in a manger, and the young child growing in the care of love of His mother Mary and Joseph.  We also see God working fulfilling every word He has spoken, in and through the life of His only begotten Son;

“But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.’ And he arose, and took the young child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.'” Matthew 2:19-23 (KJV)

Even, to the place He would spend His life growing up.  Let us not be fearful, neither be afraid.  God’s will is being done still in the lives of His people and in the world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Chariot of Fire

This will be my final study in the life of Elijah; Prophet of fire.  It almost seems that this great prophet of God has arisen by the hand of God, the calling of God; out of the ranks of the unknown of people.  Now every Jewish, and Christian individual who knows the Old Testament or the New Testament has heard of Elijah.

He has challenged the prophets of Baal; liars, deceivers, cheats and thieves; leading the people of Israel away from YHWH, and toward destruction.  Of course, if people are deceived, it is usually by their own choosing, and willingness to follow what they want and choose to hear.

Ahab practically called Elijah the “Troubler of Israel” (1 Kings 18:17-18), when was the weak, spineless, spiritually bankrupt king of Israel who was troubling Israel; as Elijah said it.

Now, I want us to turn our attention toward the final day in the life of this prophet of fire.  It is no wonder to call him that.  It was a challenge of fire that Elijah challenged the prophets of the false gods.  It was with fire that God heard Elijah’s prayer, and answered by fire; and as we shall see Elijah was called into the presence of the LORD by fire.  WOW!

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.  And Elijah said unto Elisha, ‘Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel.’ And Elisha said unto him, ‘As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.’ So they went down to Bethel.  And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, ‘Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day?’ And he said, ‘Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.’  And Elijah said unto him, ‘Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho.’ And he said, ‘As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.’ So they came to Jericho.  And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, ‘Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day?’  And he answered, ‘Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.’  And Elijah said unto him, ‘Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan.’  And he said, ‘As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.’  And they two went on.  And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.  And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.’  And Elisha said, ‘I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.’  And he said, ‘Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.’  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.  And Elisha saw it, and he cried, ‘My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.’  And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, ‘Where is the LORD God of Elijah?’ and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.  And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.’ And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.”  2 Kings 2:1-15 (KJV)

Our view of Scripture from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 will help us determine a Biblical understanding of what happened to Elijah.  If we do not believe the Genesis account of Scripture and merely give it a nod as Scripture, but leaves much unsaid, then we may do the same with the rest of Scripture.  Merely giving it a nod without viewing it as without error and God-breathed we could explain all of Scriptural miracles as myth, allegory, or just a fine story.

However, if we acknowledge the truth of Genesis 1 through 11, and Genesis 12 through Revelation 22 as well, then we must see the previous miraculous events as well as that of Elijah’s being caught up in the chariot of fire as actual events, which happened just as God describes them in His Word.

Elijah has obeyed the LORD, by anointing a new king for Israel, and by anointing the new prophet in his stead (Elisha), following his run-in with Jezebel.  We are not told how much time as elapsed between these two events – the challenge to the prophets of Baal, and the chariot of fire.  However, it has been enough time for Elijah to give Elisha some training, and prepare him for his own journey with the LORD.

Let us take a few moments and think about this Chariot of Fire.

First of all it was the means by which God took Elijah out of this world.  Second, it was the means by which Elisha was initiated into the prophets ministry, and prepared him for a life of faith.  Third, it put the other prophets on notice that Elisha had the Spirit which was upon Elijah upon him.

This was an expected event.  Elijah knew the event was about to happen; Elisha knew the event was about to happen; and the other prophets were were watching knew it was going to happen.  They asked Elisha, “Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today?”  They asked him two times.  Elisha wanted to be there when it happened.  I say, “Who would not have wanted to be with him?”

Was Elijah’s being taken a punishment for his run from Jezebel?  In no way.  It was more a reward for his faithful service.  Now he would be in the presence of the Lord, and without having experienced death.  We can be fairly well assured that Elijah’s body was changed in the process of this great event.

There is coming a great event for the faithful Christian.  A day when our bodies will be changed “In a moment; in the twinkling of an eye…We shall be changed.”  Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

Jesus was raised to life following the crucifixion, and burial with a new body, and forty days later ascended up into heaven to be forever with His Father.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and your house, and you will be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

The Gospel of Hosea

There are some who proclaim that “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.”  “In the Old Testament God is distant, constantly judging His people, and angry.  In the New testament God is loving and kind.”

How many times have you heard such statements of something similar?

Listen to what the LORD spoke to Hosea,

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)

In the gospel of Hosea we see GOD who chose a people who were not worthy, because He loved them, and drew them to Himself; and continues to do so.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is such a gospel [Good news] of God becoming flesh alluring people unto Himself, and taking what was a curse, and making them a blessing and glory unto Himself.

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

That is why I have sometimes called Hosea  the Old Testament Gospel of John.

-T.A.

YAH is God

I have become fascinated with the prophet of Elijah in the past few years, and maybe so in the past few months.  He is known as the prophet of fire, and the reason for that title becomes apparent as you read the Scriptural accounts of his ministry and life.

The name Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah [YHWH]” or “YAH is God”,  and thus the title of this post.  I want to spend some time looking more into the life of Elijah who seems to just appear on the scene in the days of the rule of Ahab and Jezebel over Israel; the Northern kingdom.

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.'”  1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

The above verse is the first mention of Elijah in the Bible, but certainly not the last.  According to my check, Elijah’s name is mentioned at least 108 more times through the New Testament with thirty in the New Testament.  Being a “Tishbite” and since it seems that no one knows the location of a city by this name, then maybe the Strong’s application may be of service to us,

“tishbı̂y  tish-bee’  Patrial from an unused name meaning recourse; a Tishbite or inhabitant of Tishbeh (in Gilead): – Tishbite.”

Notice the word “recourse”, and that could apply more to the person’s; the prophet in this case; interest and heart.  Recourse meaning,

“1: a turning to someone or something for assistance or protection: Resort  2: a source of aid.”  MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY

So could this not mean for us that Elijah was from Gilead, and had a burden for the children of Israel to turn to the One whom they were refusing for the protection and aid they really needed?  I think it is a great possibility.  The  prophet was a man who had a heart for God and for the Northern kingdom to turn to God.

Elijah told the king Ahab that there would be no rain, or dew until he called on the LORD God to give it.  We know from the epistle of James that was three and one half years without dew or rain (James 5:17).  Oh, how the people of God today need a heart like Elijah who will spend time with the LORD, know His heart, preach His Word, even to the kings of the earth; and tell them what God is about to do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 70 – Servant To Many

As we begin reading the gospel of Mark we see no genealogy.  We do see Mark’s short declaration “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God…” (1:1).  My reading today was Mark 1 – 14.  And as we look at the gospel it can be quite apparent that this gospel presents Jesus as  the Son of God, yet a servant to all who will believe Him.

In the era of the life of Jesus servants had no genealogy.  I believe that is much for us to contemplate.  We see Jesus, even when He needs to get away for prayer and rest; people coming to Him and He still meets their needs.  That is at the heart of being a servant.

“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto Him, saying, ‘Master, we would that Thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.’  And He said unto them, ‘What would ye that I should do for you?’  They said unto Him, ‘Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand, in Thy glory.’  But Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’  And they said unto Him, ‘We can.’ And Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: but to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.’  And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.  But Jesus called them to Him, and saith unto them, ‘Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”  Mark 10:35-45 (KJV)

In the above account of James and John coming to Jesus seeking positions of authority with Him in His glory; we find Jesus also telling them that being one of authority means to be a servant to the people.  Jesus was one who was that type of servant; even to the point of sacrificing His own life for the world.

In the 14th chapter we find Jesus in one of His final acts of service.  Giving Himself to the religious leaders to be tried.

“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with Him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.” 14:53

How can men try God?  And be successful at it anyway?  It seems to me that men still put God on trial everyday.  In many hearts and minds He is still found guilty.  Yet, He serves us with His enduring mercy.

Much could be learned by the religious and political leaders of our day by following the pattern of Jesus.  Rather many if not most of them demand others their service and attention.

Jesus served us all the way to judgment by a mock trial, with lying witnesses, and trumped up charges.  Yet He gave His life for those same people.  He gave His life for you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 68 – From Kings to The King

I have spent the last 67 days in the Old Testament.  In the OT we learn of God’s plan for the human race, their departure from Him – in sin and rebellion – and His grace and mercy extended to all who will come to Him believing Him.  We learn in the OT of a Savior and King of kings who is to come.  We read prophecies of One who is to come.

When I attended Boyce Bible School, I had a Professor who told us, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”.  A verse in the Revelation of Jesus Christ says, “…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10b).  That meaning that all the Bible is the testimony of Jesus.

It is with great interest and growing love for my Saviour, Lord and King that we enter the New Testament today; and we hear from Him as He walked among men, as a man, yet, more than a man.  He is the God/Man.  Fully God; Fully Man.

We enter the beginning of the testament of our Saviour and King with a genealogy of kings.  I will not post the whole genealogy of Jesus, but the last two verses of that tell us,

“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.  So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”  Matthew 1:16-17 (KJV)

In Matthew 5 – 7 we have what could be called the Kings Constitution, or His Kingdom’s Constitution.  How many times have you heard, “I live by the Sermon on the Mount”.  I am telling you, that the Sermon on the Mount as it is called is more condemning than is the 10 Commandments.

It is within the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus says,

“For I say unto you, ‘That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 5:20

I can only long for the day that I can adhere to every detail of these Beatitudes (5:3-12), commandments, and expectations.  I cannot; though my heart desires it very strongly.  My only hope for heaven is the grace of God through His Son Jesus.  These are in me because Christ lives in me.

In chapter 13 we have a chapter of parables where the King gives us the layout of His kingdom and who is in it.  It is basically those who hear the Word of God and keep it.

How can one have the assurance of spending eternity with the King of kings?  By giving one’s life totally over to Him, believing that He bled and died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and arose bodily from that grave conquering the power of sin, death, and hell.

I pray all will have a glorious Resurrection Sunday.  This is the day when once per year the resurrection is remembered by Christians the world over.  However, every Christian also knows that we remember the Resurrection of our Saviour every Sunday; every Sunday is resurrection Sunday.  That is the day He bodily arose and came out of the grave, and appeared to many.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 67 – Words of Warning and Promise

Some people will never listen to a “negative” comment.  They always want the positive stuff.  Let me ask this question;  What good is a battery with only a positive pole?   There is no battery with only a positive pole.  They all; from automotive – cars and trucks – to batteries for electronic gadgets, fire alarms, etc.; they all have a negative and positive pole.

My reading for the 67th day of my 90 day journey was Zechariah 10 – Malachi 4.  Yes!  I only read nine chapters today.  There will still be time for catch up reading.  Besides, I did not want to read only the first five chapters of the New Testament and Matthew to begin the NT.

The reading was mostly positive, yet there are some words of warning, yeah!  Negative stuff.  How good can the positive be, if there is no negative.  How powerful can the electric be without the negative.  I have an electric fence around my yard/lawn to keep cattle out.  I can assure you that without the ground wire (the negative), there would be no jolt on that wire.  You get my point.

One of the first negatives I will point out is,

“Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.”  Zechariah 11:17 (KJV)

The shepherd or pastor of whom the prophet is speaking is one who leads his people or followers in idol worship rather than the worship of the true God.  To me this has a positive message for the follower of God and Christ.  It tells me that there is coming a day when all idol worship, and worshippers will cease to be and that all will worship the one true God.

There is also coming a day when all Israel will look upon Jesus who was judged guilty by the angry religious leaders of that day; and He was without guilt.  His only guilt was that He was guilty of being holy, righteous, without blemish or spot; He claimed to be and is the Son of God.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”  12:10

All will turn out just as the LORD has said.  Just as He has promised.  His Word will be fulfilled word for word.  Not one word shall fail.

Malachi is a prophet who sees the people who are “bored” with worship; yes, the worship of the LORD.  He confronts them with it.  More negativity is coming.  Do we not need to hear the negative to get a positive outcome?  you can close your ears all you want to negativity, but that does not help you or any others who may be actually perishing in their sin, and decrepit attitudes.

“A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a Father, where is Mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear?’ saith the LORD of hosts unto you, ‘O priests, that despise My name. And ye say, ‘Wherein have we despised Thy name?’  Ye offer polluted bread upon Mine altar; and ye say, ‘Wherein have we polluted Thee? In that ye say, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’   And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person?’ saith the LORD of hosts.”  Malachi 1:6-8 (KJV)

The people of Judah were going through the motions of worshipping God, but were not living the worship.  They had in affect departed from the worship of YHWH, and “wearied the LORD with your words” (2:17).  The prophecy of Malachi ends with a word of hope and promise of one coming to prepare the way;

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” 4:5-6

The Lord GOD calls all people to worship Him.  He is holy, righteous, and just.  He will not hold the sinner guiltless.  However, when the sinner receives His offering for sin we put on the righteousness of His own dear Son who bled and died for our sins on the cross, was buried – carrying away the sin, guilt and condemnation; and He bodily arose from the grave justifying forever all those who will believe on Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 54 – Judged by Sin

I find it very sad that so many have tried to change the definition of Biblical sin.  According to God’s Word – the Bible – sin is a transgression of God’s law.  Sin is failure to measure up to God’s glory; His requirements of the law.  Nowadays, we hear things like, “Sin is whatever keeps me from achieving my personal goals”; or “Sin is when somebody else does me wrong”.  So there is a wrong?  Who determines what is wrong or right?  You?  There is one absolute gauge for what is right and wrong; and that is God and His Word.

If God says it was a sin in the Old Testament; it is still a sin in the New Testament; and today.  When I say that I am not speaking of Old Testament rituals, sacrifices, and offerings; but the moral issues having to do with the way we live our lives.

My reading this morning was finishing the prophet Isaiah 63 – 66 and Jeremiah 1 – 10.

Isaiah ends the messages of his prophetic writings with wonderful words of a great and glorious future for Israel, and the world; for those who will trust and believe in the LORD.  Jeremiah begins his prophecy telling about his calling as a young man, his short debate with God about his inability to speak, and God’s promise to hasten to perform His word (1:12).  Jeremiah is told by God,

“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” Jeremiah 1:17 (KJV)

The prophet of God, or the preacher of God cannot afford to preach to appease the people, for fear of retribution from them.  He must preach what God declares unto him.  The prophecy of Jeremiah, like Isaiah is not all “doom and gloom”; there is also much promise and hope.  The first hope is that God is giving the people a chance to repent and change their ways; but they will not.  They are in love with their sins, and thus Jeremiah tells them,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” 2:19

The children of Israel/Judah have chosen their own way and will go into captivity because of it.  They have forsaken the LORD God and turned to the idols of foreign nations. They have even gone so far as to think that because the Temple is in Jerusalem then they are safe from destruction and captivity, but the prophet says to them –

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  ‘Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.  ‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.  Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.'” 7:1-4

It could justly and rightly be said that what the children of Israel were practicing was plain ole hypocrisy.  Sure to “worship” the LORD on the sabbath day, but practicing the behaviors of foreign gods the other six days.  God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need a defiled place to worship Him.

Our hearts today should be like that of Jeremiah weeping for the people; why he is often called “The weeping prophet” –

“Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” 9:1

We must be sure that our own sins are gone, cleansed, forgiven, and that we are walking with GOD daily.  Every moment of each day we need to be dependent upon the LORD God.  He is our Creator, our Strength, our Hope, and without Him we are nothing.  Weep for our own sins, and for the sins of those who perish; and pray for their redemption through the cross and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 51 – The Cornerstone

It has been said, that in the building of a building with stone that a “cornerstone” is needed.  The size of the cornerstone determines the size of the building, the shape of the building and so forth.  So without a cornerstone there is not much direction.

My reading this morning was Isaiah 21 – 34.  In reading these verses there is much “Woe” presented to nations; Israel, and Judah included, but to them, also very much hope.

In chapter 28 God speaking through the prophet shows how the leadership has fallen.  Where they had been known for their beauty they were seen as a “fading flower” (vv. 1, 4), and the day was coming when the LORD of hosts would “be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty…” (v. 5).  The present leadership to whom Isaiah was speaking were drunken with wine and strong drink, making faulty judgment, and hating the word of the LORD.

The word of the LORD was not hidden to them.  The prophet had made it known to them over and over again “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little there a little…” (v. 13) where it seems they had grown tired of hearing it.  That did not stop the prophet.  He kept on preaching.  Go get ‘um Isaiah.  Go get ‘um preacher.

We need to understand; God’s Word does not promote us, our comfort, our peace, even our salvation.  The center, the promotion of the Word of God is God, His glory, His salvation.  I do not want to burst your bubble…  wait a minute – Yes I do.  This world is not about you.  This Word of God is not about you – it is not about us.  It is about Him, and He tells us,

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.'” Isaiah 28:16 (KJV)

These words are referenced in the New Testament describing the person of Jesus Christ (Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 3:11-13; 1 Peter 2:6; Matthew 21:42-44).  This is truly a “precious corner stone”.

There are a couple of final verses I will leave with you today;

“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded, and His Spirit it hath gathered them.  And He hath cast the lot for them, and His hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.” 34:16-17

Though these words are spoken for the previous few verses; they are also true for the whole of God’s written Word.  Particularly, “…No one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate…”  God’s Word will come to pass just as He has said,  not one word will fail.

Jesus is the Corner stone.  He is coming.  He will reign.

-Tim A. Blankenship

New Bible Reading Adventure

I hope the title of this post sparked some interest.  Starting February 01 I will be starting a new Bible adventure in reading through God’s holy, inspired, infallible Word.  I, with God’s help and strength, will endeavor to read through all 1,189 chapters of the Old and New Testaments in ninety days.

If you would like to take up the challenge and join me let me know by leaving a comment, and telling me.  I will also endeavor during those days February 1 – April 30 to write a daily comment or comments concerning something of the chapters I have read.  My goal is to read 14 chapters per day for 90 days.  I am a slow reader, so I will plan on at least an hour to read it maybe more; and I do not want to alarm anyone, but I will be reading from the New Living Translation, rather than the King James Version.

Each year since surrendering to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God I have set my goal of reading through the Word at least once per year.  There have been a couple of those years I failed to do that; but I was always at a loss for missing it.

Let’s stop ignorance of the Bible by starting with ourselves.  Will you join me?  Leave your comment and let me know.  You might be made a different person by April 30, 2012.

Let me leave this caveat’ with you.  All this will be according to the will of our Lord; because we are not promised February 1, 2012; little lone April 30, 2012.  I also know that if we  read 14 chapters a day it will be finished in about 85 days.  That does give us a little bit of room, if we get caught short on time or something on some days.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

B F & M – God’s Purpose of Grace

Here is our SBC Statement of Faith on “God’s purpose of Grace”:

“V. God’s Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.”

There are some who want to tell us that people who were saved in the Old Testament were saved by their works.  That is not so.  They were all saved by faith looking forward to the cross of Jesus Christ.  People today are saved looking back to the cross of Jesus.

It is said of Noah, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:8 (KJV).  The word ‘Grace’ is found more often in the book of Genesis than in all four New Testament Gospels combined (12 times in Genesis; 4 times in Luke and John with 3 of those in John).  Now, would someone tell me that the Old Testament people were saved by their works.  Go figure.

The one New Testament Scripture that stands out as a favorite for all Christians is Ephesians 2:8-10.  That is right I include verse ten.  It is one we too often leave out.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Trust the God of grace.

-T.A.

Power On Their Lives – Mark 16:15-20

“And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”  Mark 16:15-20

Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and it is longer and more detailed in its application there.  Here, however, we have a simple “Go and preach the gospel to every creature”, and then, what follows are signs, evidence that they are servants of God.  Because of the newness of this message of grace, that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, there must of necessity have been proofs of their words being true.  The gospel is true and powerful to save, but the Scriptures [New Testament] had not yet even started to be written.  Today, we have the completed Scriptures [Old and New Testaments], and we no longer need evidence of the power of the gospel to save.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” seems like a salvation of works, but any one who comes believing in Jesus will in obedience follow the Lord in water baptism.  It is the “Public confession” of one’s faith in Jesus.   When a person comes to faith in Jesus they have a desire to obey Him in all things.  The first step of obedience, and the believer’s first call is a public testimony, and that is shown in baptism.  Baptism is the testimony of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, and by baptism you tell the world of your faith in Jesus and that you have died to the old life, been buried putting it all away, and have risen to new life in Him.

According to the apostle John in the gospel he wrote, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).  You could  ask the question, a fearful question, “What does one have to do to go to Hell?  The answer to that is absolutely nothing.  You can be saved by grace through faith in Jesus, His finished work on the cross and the resurrection, and enjoy the glory of Jesus for all eternity.  You can do absolutely nothing and spend eternity in Hell.  The truth of the matter is we are all condemned, dying, hellbound sinners.  We are born in that condition – separated from God, hating God, loving ourselves, and seeking our own way, and not God’s way.  There are some who believe that once this life is over that is it.  There are even some professing Christians who believe only the saved will have an “Eternal life” while those who do not know God through His Son Jesus will simply go back to the dust, and their “spirits” will cease to exist.  Part of the way that God created us in His image is that He gave us an eternal soul and spirit.  Not “Eternal” in the sense that He is; like “Eternal past”, but an eternal future, and our eternity with Christ actually begins with our faith in Him.  The condemned person’s eternity without Christ begins at the death of the physical body, and it will be an eternity without light, without friends, without satisfaction of desires.  It will be an eternity of torment, or flames, heat, no water, nothing to quench your thirst.  It will be a place without God’s love, only wrath.

These were signs of authentication.  They were evidence of the power of God to save those who believe, and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.  The first sign Jesus gives is the power to “…Cast out devils [demons]”.  There is evidence of this in Acts with a young girl who is “demon possessed”, and brings great profit to her owner, because she can “Foretell” the future.  Paul was bitten by a poisonous serpent, and without harm (Acts 28).  The apostles Peter and John, on their way to the temple, meet a man who is lame, and by their words, “Rise up and walk” he gets up and walks (Acts 3).  Paul raises a young man named Eutychus from death (Acts 20).  There are many accounts in the book of Acts of the work of the Spirit of God in the lives of the apostles, doing miracles, signs and wonders, to confirm the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is the Gospel which is being promoted not the miracles, and we must always remember that.

The changed lives of millions through the years is evidence of the power of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Men and women who have had hate filled, murderous hearts are changed into loving, compassionate, caring individuals who reach out to others with the truth of Christ.  Men and women who have selfishly stolen from others through greed, lust, and larceny are changed into giving, unselfish individuals who love Christ and have given their all for Him.

One sign of the resurrection of Jesus is His ascension into Heaven to His Father’s right hand.  The apostles all witnessed it.  Peter, James and John, Matthew, and all the rest, except Paul for he had not yet come to faith in Jesus.  Jesus fulfilled all the Scriptures concerning the things concerning Himself and His first coming, and He will fulfill all the things concerning His Second coming.

The disciples/apostles were the ones who are responsible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the beginning of the Church – the Body of Christ.  Without the Holy Spirit confirming their word, there would be no church.

Can we go out in the same power of the Spirit that they did?  Most certainly, and now we have something much better than miracles, signs and wonders.  We have God’s Spirit confirming His written Word.  It is finished.  There is no more being added to it, and anyone that does add to it or take away from it will find the curses of His Word in their lives (Rev. 22:18-19).

There is nothing impossible to those who walk in the Spirit of God.  Praying for the power of the Spirit on Christian lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Body of Jesus – Mark 15:37-47

“And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. 40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.”  Mark 15:37-47 (KJV)

Jesus had finished the gruelling, cruel, task of bearing the sins of the world.  Jesus spoke seven times from the cross one of which was, “It is finished”, which is recorded by John in chapter 19 verse 30.

Mark records something that is not recorded in the other Gospels, and that is the remark of the centurion in verse 39, “Truly this man was the Son of God”.  Matthew, Mark and Luke mention the “Veil of the temple was rent” with Luke’s version leaving off that it was torn from top to bottom.

The “Veil” separated the “Holy place” from the “Holy of Holies”.  The “veil” allowed only limited access, and that was only once per year on the day of Atonement by the high priest, and with the blood of a spotless sacrifice.  The significance of the torn veil is that now the way has been made for all people to come into the presence of Holy God.  Remember Jesus’ words, “I am the way…”.  He parted the veil and “The Way” has been made.  We can all now, “…Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16).  The special significance of the veil being torn from “top to bottom” is that it was done by God, not by man, showing that the only way to God is not by the works of flesh and law, but only by God’s grace.

The centurion was so amazed by the strength, power and authority of the voice of Jesus at His last words from the cross it made a lasting impression on him.  Being a “centurion” he would have been in charge of 100 men, and according to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 27 verse 54,

“Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those     things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.   Matt 27:54 (KJV)”.

John MacArthur writes of this in the Study Bible,

those with him. These were probably     men under his charge.  Mark 15:39 says the centurion was the one who uttered  the     words of confession, but he evidently spoke for his men as well.  Their ‘fear’ speaks of an     awareness of their sin, and the word ‘truly’ suggests a certainty and conviction that     bespeaks genuine faith.  These men represent an answer to Jesus’ prayer in Luke 23:34.”

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do”.  (Luke 23:34).

It is not improbable nor unlikely that this man and those with him are with Jesus in heaven.

At His death there were also several women who were there.  Some of them are named here – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the less, and of Joses, and Salome, and others.  My how the work of women has improved since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  The New Testament tells us nothing of any wicked women or wicked deeds compared to that of the Old Testament.  Here we see the women had less fear for themselves than the men did, and they were closer to Jesus in His death than many of the disciples were.

At His death there was a man we do not know much about.  He was one who “Waited for the kingdom of God…” and went and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus.  He must have been a silent follower before or became one at His death.  Anyway he has the bold courage to appear before Pilate and asks for the body.  Joseph of Arimathaea is the man.  After Pilate had affirmed that Jesus was dead he gave Joseph the body.  Joseph, then, took the body of Jesus and prepared it with the proper perfumes, wrapped His body in “Fine linen”, and “…Laid Him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulcher”.  Matthew writes, “And laid it in his own new tomb,…” (Matthew 27:60).

The final verse of our text tells us that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.  They would not leave until they knew where Jesus would be buried.  Jesus had no personal means of paying for a burial.  He knew that would be taken care of by His Father.

So!  Who was really on trial here? Who should have been crucified? Yet, He hung, He bled, He was accursed and died in our stead. It seems to me that what we see here in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus is the wicked, vile, sinful nature of mankind.  That was what sent Jesus to the trial and to the crucifixion.  It was His love that kept Him stedfast, and faithful to the finish.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022411

Reading for today Deuteronomy 11 – 13.

It is shocking sometimes how quickly God’s people can be led astray.  Led away from the true worship of God unto the worship of the man made, or earthly creatures.  Some years ago I read some articles in Midnight Call magazine concerning finances in the last days.  He named three gods or idols which citizens of the USA worship;  MOFI, GLOBO, AND SCITE.  To give you an understanding of what these are they are related to Money/Finance; Global Organization and union; and Science and technology. I personally think we could add another idol to that; and that is our children.  Have you ever seen a parent who believed their child could do no wrong?  Every ounce of time goes into children.  We hear about our children’s health, our children’s education, our children’s well being, and we ought to be for those things; but they are carried to an extreme; at least in my opinion.

There is a domonic move which has been present since the beginning of mankind to keep mankind from God.  There are teachers, preachers, dreamers and prophets who are demon inspired who direct hearts of men and women; boys and girls away from truth and God unto lies, deception and destruction.  Now who in their right mind is going to go plunging into destruction?  It is not done in the light.  Satan and his legions use deception; deception is one of those cases where a “fridge” is sold to an Eskimo living at the North Pole.  Or, ocean front property in Arizona is sold to some poor soul.  That is the line of work Satan and his minions are in; and he has people in that line of work to lead people away from God and His Son Jesus.

Hear what God says in His Word;

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them’; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him.  And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (KJV)

There might come into our midst some great worker of miracles who with those wonders call people to worship some being from outer space.  He/She claims they have found the answer that will change there lives, because they have found that “we are all gods” or some silly thing like that.

There is a growing tendency within our own nation [USA] that “If it works, then it must be good and right”.  NOT!  If it works it could be from the devil if it falls short of our LORD’s expectations and calling.

Since the United States of America is now a multi-cultural society being made of of many ethnic groups and religions and such; then we are being told to guard our speech.  We are being told we can no longer refer to Christianity as the only way to heaven and God; that there are really many ways to God.  There are many roads to the Post Office, but the one that gets you there is the one that leads to the front door.  The front door to heaven is the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus even tell us, Himself, that He is the door.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:7-10

It doesn’t matter what you dream, or what wonders you may do; or that preacher, prophet, dreamer, or teacher made do; if they lead you away from God and His Word, they are a deceptive leader to your death, and destruction.  The Old Testament law calls for their death; most likely by stoning.

Hear God through His Word, and by His Spirit.  Fear Him.  Keep His commandments.  Turn away from every false way.  Jesus is the way to life and eternal life.  Hear Him and live.

Read Deuteronomy 11 – 13

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020811

The reading today Leviticus 26 – 27.

Most of us have heard the saying, or something similar to it; “If you sow your wild oats a harvest will come”.  It is another way of saying what God says  in His Word and through nature.  “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galations 6:7b).

Israel was given much, special land.  Yet it was theirs under the condition of the covenant with God.  The covenant was that they had to “walk with God”; and that means obey Him; to see things God’s way, not their own.  The prophet Amos asked the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3),and the answer is no.  In the case of man with God; we must agree with God.  God does not agree with me, nor does He need to or have to.  It is my obedience, my repentence, my sorrow for sin – that is necessary for me to walk with God – not God’s.

“And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.  But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.  These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.”  Leviticus 26:44-46 (KJV)

In Leviticus 26 God the LORD has warned Israel of what will happen to them and the land should they not follow His commandments.  Both the Ten Commandments and the others that are given concerning treatment of others, their worship practices, moral issues, and the land.  If they go against God.  They are not “walking with God”.  They will suffer the consequences; and that will be judgment from surrounding nations, captivity; the enemy even harvesting their crops, rather than themselves.

God is merciful.  He even promises that should they disobey; and they do; then He will remember the covenant with them, and bring them back into the land.

Many times we may find that it is our own sins that judge us.  The prophet Jeremiah even bears this thought out when God spoke to him saying,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reproove thee…” (Jeremiah 2:19a).

It is great to know that we find grace and mercy given by God in the Old Testament; and that same grace and mercy is magnified, and personified in the person of His Son Jesus in the New Testament.  We have the promise of the New Testament:

“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteouness.”  (1 John 1:9).

and”My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous…”   (1 John 2:1).

The grace of God through Jesus Christ is the greatest gift of God to man, through Jesus.

Read Leviticus 26 – 27

-Tim A. Blankenship

My Observations 020311

The Bible reading for today is Leviticus 11 – 13.

We are now into matters of foods; in particular meats; that the people of Israel are commanded to eat.  In the mind of the Gentile man or woman these may seem quite archaic or unnecessary; however, these are commandments for Israel; not Gentiles.  That may be partially why these commandments on eating meats, leprosy, and others following are given.

It is not for the people to understand why these laws were given; it is for the people to obey God.

“Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.  For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.  This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.”  Leviticus 11:43-47 (KJV)

In these verses above it seems that the LORD gives us the most important reason for obedience to these laws.  It is God’s command to “be holy”.  Leviticus is about holiness.  God’s call to His people is to be holy as He is holy.  Holiness is cleanliness.

Let me quote from the MacArthur Study Bible on these verses,

11:1-47 This section contains further legislation on the consumption of animals.  Abel’s offering hints at a “post-Fall/pre-Flood” diet of animals (Gen. 4:4).  After the Noahic flood, God specifically had granted man permission to eat meat (Gen. 9:1-4), but here spelled out the specifics as covenant legislation.  All of the reasons for the prohibitions are not specified.  The major points were: 1) that Israel was to obey God’s absolute standard, regardless of the reason for it, or the lack of understanding of it; and 2) such a unique diet was specified that Israel would find it difficult to eat with idolatrous people around and among them.  Their dietary laws served as a barrier to easy socialization with idolatrous peoples. Dietary and hygienic benefits were real, but only secondary to the divine purposes of obedience and separation.

FROM THE MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE NKJV p. 168

There is an example here for Christians to follow as well.  We are commanded in the New Testament, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17), and “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15, 16).  The world in which we live today is shouting for Christians to be holy, separate, and clean; yet we have professing Christians dressing as the world dresses, eating as the world eats, entertaining as the world entertains; the world sees no difference in the way we live and their way of life; and we wonder why there is a decrease in the numbers of people coming to Christ.

We don’t have to copy the world’s music, dress, entertainment, and worship styles to “win the lost”.  We must, however, be holy and separate from them, and then they may just have a reason to hear the message that only Christ can change us.  If we love Jesus Christ let’s let our lives show what only Christ can do.

Take time to read Leviticus 11 – 13.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Quotes From Baptists Of The Past

The following quotations were sent via email from Ben Stratton of the group list Landmark Southern Baptist.

“God’s Word is plain.  A Baptist has only to read and obey.  He need not be a scholar, or a philosopher, though he may be both.  He has no trouble to explain away what is written.  He can read it and go by it without embarrassment.  He can afford to be plain, simple, straightforward and obedient, knowing if there is anything wrong about the teaching of the New Testament, he is not to blame for it.  I am a Baptist because John was, Jesus was, the apostles were, the first churches were, and all the world ought to be.”  J.B. Gambrell

(James Bruton Gambrell (1841-1921) was a Baptist leader around the turn of the last century. He pastored churches in Mississippi and Texas, served as President of Mercer University (1893-1895, editor of the Baptist Standard (1910-1921) and President of the SBC. (1917-1921). )

“As to the Christians commonly called Baptists, we are convinced that they have, more than their brethren, preserved the ordinances of the Lord Jesus as they were delivered unto the saints. . . the claim ought not to be filched by the church of Rome, but should be left to that community which all along has held one, Lord, one faith, and one baptism.  This body of believers has not been existed into temporal power, or decorated with worldly rank, but has dwelt for the most part in dens and caves of the earth destitute, afflicted, tormented, and has thus proved that it is of the house and lineage of the Crucified. . . . It would not be impossible to show that the first Christians who dwelt in this island were of the same faith and order as the churches now called Baptists.  The evidence supplied by ancient monuments and baptisteries still surviving, would be conclusive in our favour were it not that upon this point the minds of men are not very open to argument.”  Charles Hadden Spurgeon

(C.H. Spurgeon {1834-1892} was a noted English Baptist preacher, author, and editor.  The above quote is from his sermon “Looking For Our Spiritual Roots” delivered at the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in London, England.  Notice that Spurgeon believed the origins of modern Baptists were found in the Anabaptists.  He also believed that Baptists / Anabaptists had existed in England since the earliest days.)

May those who call themselves Christian and Baptists be forever dependent on the Lord and His Word, and not new fangled, man made ideas that distract from Him and His Word.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Precious Word Of God

The Word of God is precious and dear to every  Christian’s heart.  When Paul the apostle was telling people of Jesus Christ all the Scriptures he had was the Old Testament.  That is the Word of God he used in his preaching Jesus.

In Acts 28:23 we find these words, “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening”.  Why is it that there are many preachers and even Christian groups who completely avoid the Old Testament when in the New Testament we have evidence that those words was the only Word of God available to the apostles?

When you see them as messages concerning Jesus they become precious and give better understanding to the New Testament.  Get into all of God’s Word.  The Old and New Testaments is all God has given us today.  Even Jesus, after He arose from death, mentions the law and the prophets.  Check out Luke 24.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus – Son of God, As God

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”  1 Timothy 3:16.

Why is it that when the Bible; and that includes Old Testament Scriptures; is so clear on the deity of Jesus Christ, that there are those who will argue with God Himself?  This verse is quite clear on the fact that Jesus is God incarnate.

Many of those who want to dismiss these verses, or twist them to suit their own ends, will admit that Jesus is the “Son of God”.  That just does not make sense.  Reason will tell you that if you are the ’son of a man’, that, that makes you a man: that is if you are a man.  Jesus is also referred to as “Son of Man”, thus making Him man.  Being called “Son of God”, being virgin born, conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, God His Father, in the mind of reason will see that the Son of God is God.  Jesus is one hundred percent Man, and one hundred percent God.  You cannot get any better than that.

For further study on this read John chapter five, and six.  May God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit bless you in your study.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Sons Of God

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in His name”  John 1:12 (KJV).

It is wonderful to know that God has given the right, the privilege, and the power to be “sons” of God.  This only comes as the grace gift of God to all who believe.  There is one particular word to this verse I want you to note.

The word is “sons”.  Many of the female gender may find offense with this term, and many of the newer translations change this to read, “children of God”, but I find that to be very weak and without meaning.  Why?

In the Old Testament sons were the only ones who were to receive inheritance.  The older son; in most cases; always was to receive the inheritance.  In the case of the dispersing of the land of Promise; that too; was to be given to the men of the families.  There was a case where there were no sons of the family of Zelophehad, but he had five daughters, and due to that they were given an inheritance (Numbers 27:1-11 KJV).

The blessedness of John 1:12 is that because of Jesus Christ all people male and female are put on equal ground.  We are all as sons of God, when we have by faith received Jesus as our Savior.

We are adopted into the family of God and given all the privileges of Jesus Himself (Read Ephesians 1).

Now, remember who you are.
-Tim A. Blankenship

The Old and The New

“And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?  And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.  But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.  No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.  And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.” Mark 2:18-22 (KJV)

The Old Testament Law only called for one fast per year, and that was on the “Day of Atonement”.  The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had made it a pious thing to fast twice per week.  If you did not do that you were not holy, or right with God.  What it really was is you were not right with the Pharisaical interpretation of the law.

It was a new day.  The Bridegroom was here, and He had gathered His “children of the bridechamber” and while He was with them was no time to fast, but rejoice, celebrate, work and be glad.

With Jesus’ death on the cross there is no more room for the sacrifice of bullocks, lambs, goats, birds, or grains.  The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.  The old has been done away, the new has come and the blending of the new and the old will not work.  Old, used wine skins will crack and burst if new wine is put into them.  A new piece of material used to patch an old garment will shrink and make the hole of the garment even worse when the garment has been washed.

The new man, (“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)) in Christ Jesus has no need of the old ceremonial system, or dependence upon keeping the “feast days”.  He has the real thing.  He has Jesus.  To incorporate them into the life would be to say the blood of Jesus is insufficient.  It would tear the faith of Christ apart.  The MacArthur Study Bible note says  of Matthew 9:17,

“Jesus used this illustration to teach that the forms of old rituals, such as the cermonial fastings practiced by the Pharisees and John’s disciples, were not fit for the new wine of the New Covenant era (“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”  Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV))  In both analogies, the Lord was saying that what the Pharisees did in fasting or any other ritual had no part with the gospel”

verses of Colossians 2:16-17 filled in by TAB.

There are times we need to learn to incorporate new things into our lives to live in the times in which we live.  There does not have to be a compromise of truth in order to do that.  Of course Jesus is speaking in this instance of the gospel, and its greatness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Baptists Are Drifting…

The word “Drift” according to the MERRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY means “to float or be driven along by wind, waves or currents 2: to pile up under the force of the wind or water”

The following is an email from Ben Stratton from the Landmark Southern Baptist list:

Baptists Are Drifting From the New Testament Pattern in Doctrine and Polity

Some Baptists are drifting from these orders because they are failing to teach believers to “observe all things whatsoever” Christ has commanded.  Luke tells us that the first church “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.”
The New Testament records that believers were accepted into church members by baptism. . . Scriptural baptism is the door into the visible Church of God.  A believer coming from another denomination must be baptized to be a member of a Baptist church.  The proper way to enter a building is through the door.  Baptism symbolizes identification  with a (the) faith.  It is important that one believe in Christ; it is also important what ones believes about Christ.

Administering the Lord’s Supper to non-Baptists is also a departure from the New Testament pattern.  The Lord’s Supper is a family affair and is to be partaken by those of the same faith and order and in good regular standing with the church.  The New Testament substantiates this stand.

Being liberal may make one popular with man, but adherence to the scripture will make you popular with God.  Let us as Baptists join with Jeremiah in seeking the old paths of doctrine, polity, and morality.  J.V. Bottoms, Sr.

(J.V. Bottoms, Sr. was the longtime pastor of the Green Street Missionary Baptist Church in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.  He was the first person to graduate from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary once blacks were allowed to attend there.  The above quote appeared in the American Baptist” newspaper in 1978.  This paper was the official organ of the General Association of Black Baptists in Kentucky.  It is interesting to note that in the 1970’s many of the black Baptist churches in Louisville were much more doctrinally sound than their white counterparts. )

Are Southern Baptists drifting? In many ways we are. We are drifting away from sound doctrine concerning Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Leadership qualifications, and away from church discipline.
We are drifting toward a crashing falls of destruction, and God will use others who are still standing for the truth, holiness, and glorifying the name of Jesus.

Let’s stand on Jesus and the Scriptures, expose the vile and wicked acts, and language of those who would lead others astray.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Secure The Documents

The prophecy of Isaiah has been strong. The people who have heard his preaching of these prophetic words of judgment coming are calling him a leader of conspiracy. In fact in conspiring against his own people and nation.

He has told them of one coming who would be a sanctuary and a “Stone of offense and a Rock of stumbling”, in fact “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem”. Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone who we are told in the New Testament is that Stone of offense and Rock of stumbling, are warned not to let that Rock fall on us, by Jesus Himself (Matthew 21:42-44; Mark 12:10). This is the stone also of which Daniel the prophet would describe coming down out of heaven, and in the kings dream –

 “Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold–the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” Daniel 2:45 (NKJV); (Also see verses 34-35ff).

The responsibility of keeping these prophecies – writings were those disciples who were following Isaiah, and writing down what he preached (8:2). To “Bind up the testimony” is to secure them for future acknowledgement of the events which the prophet foretold. They have been kept secure now for over 2,700 years. That is in fact what we are reading today.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.  And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.” Isaiah 8:16-17 (KJV)

The prophet is secure in the preaching of the LORD’s message. The prophet would not see the invasion of the invading forces of Babylon. The word of the LORD which he had spoken, and his disciples who believed the message would have it to show and prove to those who were living at that time that it was foretold.

When we read the words, “Hiding his face” it means in judgment, or shame, or maybe both. God is not looking on “Jacob” in favor is its implication.

Isaiah the prophet will “Wait for the LORD’ and ‘hope in Him”. The confidence of Isaiah is wonderful. He may be tried beyond understanding, and normal patience; but no matter what his faith in God will see him through. We see the nation we live in crumbling morally, and economically around us; when we see the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ watered down with “Feel good” messages, and messages of prosperity and health, without our suffering with Christ; we too have the faith to look to the LORD, and “Wait for the LORD” of heaven to come in all His glory and power, and to put all things under His feet. Let us pray that He is not hiding His face from His people today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Hand Of Love

In previous articles in the fifth chapter we have seen that the prophet has likened the people of Judah to a vineyard that had been planted, and nothing come from it but wild grapes. They have been raised up by God, and they have turned from God, and gone their own way, thus bringing on themselves the six woes that has been pronounced against them.

The judges were guilty of accepting bribes following their heavy drinking, and debauchery; then, allowing the guilty to go free and condemning the just. It sounds somewhat familiar to me. I pray it is not entirely that bad in the United States, but if things continue as they are and the nation continues to drift further and further away from God. That will increase.

Now we look at verses 24 and 25 of chapter five. “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.  Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 5:24-25 (KJV)

 

The New Testament reminds us of whom the Lord chastises: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards [illegitimate], and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8 (KJV) The brackets [] are mine.

The LORD of hosts, the Holy One of Israel is holy indeed. Those two names are mentioned by the prophet to make a clear statement to all who will hear. The statement is clearly that Judah has offended the God of their salvation; their deliverance; by rejecting His law. O, they prided themselves in having the law, and the temple, but by turning from the God of Israel, they rejected the very thing which they held dear.

The LORD God desires that His hand hold, protect, guide, comfort, heal, provide, and encourage; and probably a lot many more pleasant things. In our text we see His hand instead judging. He likens them to fire devouring stubble, dry grass sinking down in the flame; and as rotten roots, that dries up, and any blossom goes like dust to the wind. “He stretched out His hand against them and struck them…” We must realize the Holy One of Israel finds no pleasure in judging His people. God desires to bless His people exceedingly.

 

The last part of verse 25, tells us that God’s anger is not turned away. His anger toward sin in His people cannot be turned away. If the Holy One turned away from judging sin He would no longer be holy. No longer be the Holy One. Because He is holy He judges sin, and especially in those who are His. There are many who profess to be God’s people who choose to live as they please in sin, debauchery, and all forms of wickedness, and enjoy their sin. Their profession is false; unless, their is conviction from the Holy One that makes them miserable in their sin. If they are miserable in sin, then, they are not enjoying the sinful life. A couple of thoughts on this; first, God will do whatever it takes to make His people holy; second, God is pleased to save you where and as you are, but He loves you so much that He will not leave you where and as you are.

The verse tells us that the “mountains quaked” when He struck them, and their “corpses as refuse in the midst of the streets”. How sad that the people of God could end up so judged. His anger is still not turned away. His hand is stretched out still. He is still judging the Nation of Israel. There is further judgment coming.

People who name the Name of Jesus. Look to Him and live. Live for Him and do not be judged. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart”. When you turn from Him you  trust in yourself, and other idols.

 

“Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people, and He stretched out His hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 5:24-25 (ESV).

 

-Tim A. Blankenship

Returning Repentance

Returning Repentance

With the revelation of the pretensious treachery of Judah God again extends mercy to the northern kingdom of Israel. Though they had departed from God and since the departure from the southern kingdom, had never really had much worship and care for God they were not pretentious in their behavior. You will not find one righteous king among the people of Israel. Jereboam, the first king of Israel, it is said of Him, “Jereboam did not turn from his evil way…” (1 Kings 13:33). And, that is of all the kings of Israel.

One clear thing that we can see from this invitation from God through the prophet Jeremiah is that God hates pretention, hypocrisy, and He extends mercy to all.

“Then the LORD said to me, ‘Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:11-13 (NKJV).

It is amazing to me the number of people who have told me, and some I have heard of from others who do not believe that the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are the same. Right here is clear evidence of it. God is merciful, gracious, and loving in the Old Testament. He has always longed for His backsliding people to return to Him.

The northern kingdom got off in a backsliding agenda. Their first king, Jereboam set up two idols for them to worship, and keep the people from returning to Jerusalem. He set up a golden calf in Dan, and one at Bethel. None of the following kings had a heart for God and hated His prophets. They sacrificed their children in the fire. Worshipped many false gods, and were perverse in their behavior. Now God pleads with them to repent.

My, how God’s heart grieves for His people. He calls for repentance. Though it is not immediately seen God will accomplish His Word, and His people will return to Him. Hosea, the prophet had a wife who turned from him to pagan, idolatrous, prostitution, and worship of pleasure rather than the God of glory. Hosea pursues his wife, and this is the picture of God pursuing His nation of people to bring them back to Himself.

This was accomplished. The people who came back from the captivity of Babylon were a mixed people. People of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms returned together, and they have been one nation since that time. They were one nation in the time of Jesus. They will be one nation through all time.

When God calls for His people to repent He is calling for us to turn from going the wrong direction, ie., away from Him, and turn around and go with Him. No matter what we have done; no matter how evil and vile; no matter our guilt, or our associations; God’s call to return is still powerful and valid. If you have gotten out of His will; if you are still in your sins; if your life is in a real mess; and if your worship has grown cold; then His call to return to Him is for you. He asks only that you acknowledge your iniquity – that you had turned from Him to sin. He is merciful, will hear your cry, and will receive you back to a walk with Him. Coming to God is made possible through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His receiving the judgment of sin that was ours; by His burial, in that our sins were carried away; and it was sealed by the resurrection from the dead as evidence that all of God’s Word is true. Trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

We have all sinned. We all fall short of His glory, and yet He calls us to Himself. Repentance is Returning to God. Returning to God is Repentance.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Works

The King’s Works

 

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Matthew 12:22-24 (KJV)

The man could not see, nor could he speak. It is highly probable that this man could not hear as well. Scripture tells us he was “Possessed with a devil [demon]”. Now we live in a sophistcated society which tries to deny the spiritual in many ways. There are people who see “ghosts”, who see “spirits” and all kinds of certain phenomena, but the thought of demons seems to elude people. Many refuse to see evil as it is often seen.

Whether this man who was brought to Jesus and possessed by the demon had been made mute and blind by the demon is not seen. At any rate when Jesus heals the one possessed he is no longer possessed. He had been shunned because of his condition. Unable, because of strict religious ceremonial laws to attend worship at the temple. Jesus simply heals the man.

Due to Jesus doing this miracle many began to see Him as “the son of David”. This title is a Biblical title for the Messiah. The long awaited promised son of David who would come and deliver God’s people from their sins.

Upon hearing the people saying, “Is this the son of David?” the Pharisees react without grace, without mercy, and begin condemning Jesus. They are blind to the works which Jesus has done and is doing. His works are evidence of who He is. Old Testament Scriptures tell of the Messiah/King doing mighty deeds. The question arose partly from doubt because of Jesus’s position in life – “Acquainted with grief” (Isaiah53:3), and the Pharisees and all religious leaders had no confidence that their Messiah could be suffering or be acquainted with grief. They missed the parts where God speaks of the Suffering Savior, by appointing those verses to themselves, rather than to He who was to come. They saw only one coming of the Messiah, and appointed these miracles of Jesus to acts of the devil. Thus they put themselves in the precarious situation of eternal condemnation. They would take the triumphant Scriptures and appoint them only to the coming of a ruling conquering King, thereby, missing the point of the coming suffering servant, dying for the sins of the world.

In rejecting His works they rejected their king. By rejecting Jesus and His works they condemn themselves by giving Satan the glory for these marvelous works (v. 27). They were more concerned with preserving their traditional laws, and especially their own interpretation of the laws, than they were with meeting the needs of the people. When the preservation of traditional interpretation of the law becomes more important than the saving of a soul, that is when we open ourselves to judgment, and being rejected by our Lord. We must always stand on the truth of the gospel, and stand for it. Without the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, ie., the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ; we have no salvation.

These religious leaders were blinded by jealousy, rage, and just an out and out blindness for the truth, in order that Jesus might fulfill the very word of God, and glorify the Father, and provide salvation to a lost world.

When we appoint the works of God and His Son Jesus Christ as works of Satan we put ourselves in the spot of condemnation. No true child of God – follower of Jesus Christ – is going to be condemned; so no true child of God is going to equate the works of Christ to that of the devil. It is sad that people who seem to know the Scriptures will often twist them, or distort them to come to their own interpretation, and in their interpretation miss the whole picture of the Scriptures. The picture is of Jesus; the person is Jesus. John the Revelator wrote by the Spirit, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10b).

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Wonderful Love of God

The Wonderful Love of God

There are far too many times I have heard of people, even Christians, saying; “The God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament”, or they say; “People of the Old Testament were saved differently than the people of the New Testament time.” My usual response to that is; “That just isn’t so”.

In reading in the book of Genesis we find that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD”. He did not earn his salvation it was by grace (Genesis 6:8). We find again in Genesis, “And he [Abram, ie., Abraham] believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). That same phrase is used to assure us that Abraham was not saved by works but by grace in Romans 4:1-4.

In looking in the book of Jeremiah the prophet proclaims the love or our God and Savior:

“They say, ‘if a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; ‘Yet return to Me,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:1 (NKJV).

The prophet likens the people of Israel and Judah to a wife who has committed many adulteries, and abominations against her Husband who is God. According to law, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, it was an unclean act for a man to have his previously divorced, remarried, divorced and to take her back to himself. It was considered a defilement of the promised land. God, though, seeing the uncleanness of His people calls them to repent and return to Him. Despite the fact of their many acts of treachery, adultery and spiritual adultery, their murder of small children and elderly people; God says, “I still love you. Return to Me.’

That is the grace of God displayed in the Old Testament. Saved and restored by God’s amazing and wonderful love and grace.

-by Tim A. Blankenship