With The Precious Blood Of Christ

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  1 Peter 1:18-25  (KJB)

The Weapons Of Our Warfare

“Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: but I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 (KJB)

Expressing Praise to The One Who Is Worthy

“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the Everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.” Romans 16:25-27 (KJB)

As I read the apostle’s doxology to the epistle to the Roman Christians I thought of the Doxology our Church sang to open every Sunday morning worship service when I was a child.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen

We ought to always praise and worship the Lord Most High.  He alone is worthy.

What if the Will of the LORD was to Surrender

‘But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.” Jeremiah 38:20 (KJB)

The word “Surrender” is not a word most people of Adam’s race wants to use. We have phrases from the past here in the USA like, “Better dead, than Red”, and most people my age and older knows the meaning of that phrase. I know, and I feel that way still today, but that is not the topic at hand.

Surrender is the giving up of yourself to someone of greater power, or value than oneself. We like our freedom and our freedoms we have here in the United States of America.  Let us think for a moment about the words of Jeremiah to the king of Judah who was Zedekiah.

Jeremiah had been locked up, thrown in a miry pit, and left to die (Jeremiah 38:1-13), and had been rescued, with the approval of the king, by an Ethiopian named Ebedmelech. The king had sent for the prophet seeking his counsel, and Jeremiah gave him the word and will of the LORD. In verses 13 – 19 the king is given the word of the LORD, the way of the LORD, and will of the LORD.  That word can be summed up in one word; that word “Surrender”.

The word from God for the Christian today is surrender your word to God’s word.  Surrender your will to God’s will.  Surrender your way to God’s way.  When we do so; even if that way seems tough, rough, rocky, slippery, and like it might be a loss of our freedom – Surrender.

Zedekiah was not being commanded to surrender to the enemy. He was being commanded to surrender to GOD.

We are not being commanded to surrender to our weaknesses, fears, failures, foolish ambition, or an enemy. The command is “Surrender to the One who has our best interest at heart and mind”.  He knows what is best. The end result for Zedekiah was not good (Read chapter 39).  He did not obey. He did not surrender.

Think of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God who became flesh, humbled Himself, surrendered to the will of His Father, even unto death; so that He might redeem unto Himself all who would be given to Him by the Father.  Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and He rose again.  Hear Him, and call on His name and He will give you eternal life with Him.

For Christ’s Sake, Do Your Brother Well

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

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

Teaching a Young Pastor

“But you speak the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, discretion, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.  Servants to be obedient unto their own masters, to please well in all; not answering again; not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.”  Titus 2:1-15

REFERENCES: 1 Timothy 2:9; 4:12; 1 Peter 3:3; 5:3; Ephesians 5:24; 6:24; Nehemiah 5:9; Matthew 5:16; Luke 3:6; Romans 5:15; Acts 24:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28

Unique Saving Faith

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

Unique – Saving Faith

The Outline is for Romans 4:1-25

OUTLINE –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day Three Hundred Thirty and Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I want Christians in Christian marriages, and families to know that the devil is working hard to destroy the Christian home, and that we must be ever vigilant in standing with Christ Jesus and in His Word;  “the devil like a roaring lion is walking about seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8);  Christian stand your ground, stand firm in the Word; and remember that “…the weapons or our warfare are not carnal (flesh), but mighty through God…”  Be strong Christian.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)

DANGEROUS BUSINESS

Jack Woodard's Blog

Defile Temple

DANGEROUS BUSINESS
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are”.
[1 Corinthians 3:16,17]

The local Church at Corinth was a troubled Church, about everything that shouldn’t be going on within a local Church was not only going on, but was having a destructive impact upon the Church.

In verses 16 & 17 the Apostle Paul gives a solemn warning to those individuals within the local Church that were literally destroying the Church; God would repay in like kind. If they destroy the Church, which is Holy unto the Lord, God would certainly destroy them in return.

This warning, this threat, this promise from the Lord has not been revoked and is still applicable to those within…

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Who Are the Brethren of Jesus???

“While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him.  Then one said unto Him, ‘Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee.’  But He answered and said unto him that told him, ‘Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?’  And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, ‘Behold My mother and My brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.”  ~Jesus  (Matthew 12:46-50)

Jesus, The Unprecedented

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.  …If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing: it is My Father that honoureth Me; of whom ye say, that He is your God: yet ye have not known Him; but I know Him: and if I should say, I know Him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know Him, and keep His saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad.   …Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am….”  ~Jesus (John 8:51-59)

Words for Christian Living – Bless the LORD

 “I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Psalm 34:1 (KJV)

As Christians we are daily, constantly being blessed by God.  How often, however, do we think of Blessing God?  The phrase “Bless the LORD” is used mostly in Psalms, and occurs about 17 times; with one of those times reading “Bless ye the LORD” (Psalm 103:21). The phrase is used at least three more times in the rest of the Old Testament.  The Psalmist was a blessing to God, and blessed God.

How does the Christian bless the LORD?  First of all we fear the LORD.  In fearing God we love Him, obey His commands because we love Him.  In these things we speak words that honor Him.  We live a life that honors and glorifies Him.

Secondly, we lift up the name of Jesus in praise; not as a swear word.  Shame on the Christian who would ever use the name of Jesus Christ as an expression of anger, passion, or frustration.

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.”  Psalm 48:1-7 (KJV)

Bless the LORD.

The Time is NOW

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, ‘The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.’  Therefore say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done,’ saith the Lord GOD.'” Ezekiel 12:26-28 (KJV)

There is never any time such as the present to hear the Word of God and believe what He has said, and is saying.

-T.A.

Commanding the Ravens; Feeding the Prophet

When a prophet preaches the Word of God to his nation or to his church he must realize that word will affect his life too.  Elijah was certain to find this out shortly after he pronounces judgment by drought upon Israel, and king Ahab.

We also find that the LORD takes care of those He calls, and equips as well.  When Elijah told Ahab of the drought coming God already had a place for the prophet to go; to a brook; and there he would have water to drink and bathe, and God would send ravens with “bread and flesh” to eat in the morning and evening.

“And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, ‘Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.’  So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.  And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.” 1 Kings 17:2-7 (KJV)

For those who have a problem with the Sovereignty of God, and His directing the affairs of this world, we need to hear what the Word of God says here.  “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there”.  The LORD has the perfect place already for the prophet.  The prophet must be obedient to the LORD’S leading and follow.

It does not occur to preachers some times, but what we preach affects us too.  Even if you are not a preacher, but are a follower of Jesus Christ the Word of God is for you too.  You can obey God and His Word; or you can be disobedient and completely miss God’s provision for your life.

God’s provisions are more bountiful and wonderful than anything our disobedience can give us.

Elijah did as God commanded went to Cherith, which flowed by the Jordan.  I cringe a little when I think of having ravens bring bread and flesh to eat.  However, what God provides He cleanses.  What He blesses is good to eat.

The LORD of creation still commands the birds of the air, the fish of the sea (think of Jonah here), the beast of the forest, the cattle in the fields and upon the Thousand Hills Ranch :).  He still blesses His preachers, prophets, and His people who will trust Him in drought and in flood.  He provides by His own hand.

Commanding ravens and feeding prophets is no problem for the one who is Lord of all.

Teach me LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 89 – Blessings and Judgment to Come

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 82 – Spiritual Blessings

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

To Ephesus Paul writes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Tim A. Blankenship

Standing in the Fire

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16 (KJV)

Considering that we are Christian by faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection, and promised coming again; and that there are going to be trials and tribulations; which our Lord warned us of; how then should we live in this world? We are given guidance, counsel, and commandments as how we should live. It is really summed up in one short sentence – “Be ye holy, for I am holy”.

Peter addresses this matter beginning with the mind. The mind is the place of our thought processes. The mind is full of imagination both good and evil. There must be a “Girding up” of the mind. That is, bring it under control. A picture can be given concerning the ancient men of Bible days. When they were in a hurry and had to run; for an emergency, to get a message to an important person as quickly as possible, or even when defending one’s home – the men of that day wore robe type garments – they would take the bottom of their robes and tuck them into their belt, shortening the robe, and giving their legs room to move.

The “Gird up of the mind” would be just taking control of your thinking. Directing your mind toward wholesome thinking, pure thinking, godly thinking. You could even say, “Pull in all the loose ends”, so as not to leave something that will cause you to stumble later. Keep the mind on the things of God. Even for the Christian man or woman the mind can be a playground for evil. We need to guard the mind and keep it for God. If we do not do so, then, when evil temptations approach us, we will not be able to stand. None of us are without temptations.

The second thing we are told by Peter is “Be sober”. Those of us who do not drink alcoholic beverage may think, “Well, I don’t have anything to worry about there”; O yes we do. This has nothing to do with alcohol. It does have to do with the ability to think clearly. It would involve not allowing any substance influencing our thoughts; be it legal or illegal drugs, and that does include beverage alcohol. You will not be thinking clearly, or soberly when you have been influenced by the world’s drink, and other drugs. The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note for this verse, and this word states, “Be sober. Spiritul sober-mindedness includes the ideas of steadfastness, self-control, clarity of mind, and moral decisiveness. The sober Christian is correctly in charge of his priorites and not intoxicated with various allurements of the world.” These allurements can be an intoxication with finances, sports, technology, etc., anything that will lure the thoughts away from clear thinking.

Our hope should rest upon the promise of the return of our Lord and Savior. This is a teaching which is becoming less and less taught in some churches. It is called the “Blessed hope”, and that should be a light that brightens our eyes and our lives. When our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29 NKJV). Jesus also said; concerning this Supper, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19), and 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “For as often as you eath this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (11:26). The revelation of Jesus Christ is much more than Him coming into your life to live. He is coming again with that same body He was raised and glorified through, in the resurrection.

When we go to a home where children are running about without a disciplinary hand, and there just seems to be chaos in the home we usually do not think to highly of those parents parenting skills. When you see them in the stores shopping they will be the children screaming for this toy, that game, or that particular set of clothing. Sometimes they will scream and carry on until they get it. No discipline in the home. Parents who allow that will usually not be looked upon as good parents. They will usually be ones who will say things like, “Kids will be kids”, or “We just can’t do anything with them”. However, when you go into a home and there are children who listen to their parents, and Mom tells them to sit and be quiet and they obey, or Dad tells them to put their toys away and they do it without fuss, you know you have come into a well disciplined home. We, as Christians, are the children of God. How does the world view the household of God? Are we obedient, well behaved, showing forth the good name of our Father? With girded up loins of the mind, having a sober mind, and having our hope firmly upon the promise of the coming of Jesus we will be obedient children. Obedient children will be putting away the former lusts which we practiced in our ignorance of godliness. It is from the hand of the loving Father who gave His love and paid the price for our sins, that we are able to love Him in return and know that we have everlasting life and His love forevermore.

The conduct of the Christian is to be in holiness. For some reason there are many who profess Jesus as Savior, but will not submit to His Lordship. Some of these call themselves “Free Grace” believers. I have a word for them. Grace is not free – It costs God the best that He had, and that was the life of His Son. If you have not submitted to Him as your Lord, then, He is not your Savior. Some one said it like this, “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”. His commandment is to be holy. “Be holy, for I am holy”. Jesus Himself said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name,a nd done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV). Will He know you by the change that has taken place in your life by grace, through your faith that works?

Somewhere around the latter part of the sixth century B.C. there were three Hebrew young men who literally stood in the fire. They were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 3). They stood their ground in faith. No matter what may come – they stood by faith. They are forever remembered for the stand they took. They stood in the fire of Nebuchadnezzar, and we can stand in the fires of our testing only as we yield to Him our body, soul and mind. These three young men had girded up the loins of their minds, they were thinking clearly; they were not under the influence of any drug, but under the influence of the Spirit of God. They were remembering a greater purpose and Being than themselves. They knew it was not about them, but about God, His plans, purposes, and His glory. They chose to be holy. They chose to live and die if need be, for God. That is what the Christian must be and do.

-T.A.

Observations From Deuteronomy – 030211

If you are following my Bible Reading plan today’s reading is Deuteronomy 29 – 31.  I pray you are learning and growing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord is giving Moses some final instructions before he dies.  Moses will not be allowed to cross into the Promised Land which He is giving to the people of Israel, due to his sin of striking the rock, rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20).

The verses I want us to observe from today are,

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

The LORD has just given them promise that He will make them plenteous in the works of their hands, the “fruit of their body”, and fruit of the land, if they shall hear and do and keep His commandments (30:9-10).  Then, the LORD proceeds to tell Moses that the command is not hidden, nor far away.

So many people want to blame God for sin in the world.  Sin is due to the transgression of the human heart against God.  We are all born with that transgression.  To those who want to argue against that think of this:  Do we need to teach children to lie if they are going to lie?  NO!  Every child will practice the deceit of lying without being taught to do so.  They will even steal to get what they want.  The reason for that is because there is evil in every human heart.  Children must be taught to be truthful and honest, and it does not happen easily.  There are many adults who must learn these truths.  There is only one child who ever lived who was truthful and honest, faithful and true until His death; and that was Jesus Christ; because He was the Son of God, had the heart and blood of God; and God cannot lie.

Since the word, the commandments, are not hidden, neither are they far away the children of Israel are without excuse concerning any disobedience.  They have heard God speak.  They have heard His commandments.  Yet, we will see as they enter into the Land of Promise they still struggled with obedience.

Christians struggle with obedience today, due to the sinful flesh.  We hear God’s Word, but do not obey.  We see God’s work in our own hearts and lives yet fail Him.  It is sad to say, however, those who profess to know Jesus Christ, and can disobey/sin against Him without regret or remorse and repentance have never experienced the saving faith possible only through the blood of Christ.

For the Christian we have the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit; living within us.  We are empowered to live the life of Christ within us (Read Romans 8:1-15).  He is our Comforter, Guide, Counselor, and Corrector and points us to our Lord and Savior.

James wrote,

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”  James 1:22-25

Let’s be sure to hear God’s Word, hide it in our hearts; that we might do it, and live a Biblical, Christian life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

I Also Sent Them Into The World

The world inwhich we live, ie., the cosmos, is the creation of God.  From the beginning it has been in His hand, and He has never removed His hand from it.  We even have an account in the epistle of Paul to the Romans, where Paul wrote, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Romans 8:22 (KJV).  This world and all that is in it were created perfect.  There was no sickness or disease.  There were no terrifying earthquakes, no loud boisterous thunderstorms, or lightening flashing and terrifying life everywhere.  These things did not occur until sin entered the world by way of Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience to God.

That is why our Lord Jesus has prayed with concern of our being in the world.  The world of sin, iniquity, and rebellion.  From verses 11-16 He has prayed for us and our position in this world.  In verse 17 He prayed for our sanctification through the Word.  We come now to His sending us as His people to be His ambassador in this world.  We read;

“As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”  John 17:18-19 (KJV).

I am assured that this prayer is for all who will believe and follow Jesus.  He has asked for our sanctification, and that is the work that continues to go on in our lives day after day after day.  It is His work in us.  Let’s be thankful for His daily work of grace which not only saves us for all eternity, but works it out in our lives through cleansing and removing all that is vile and sinful in His sight.

Jesus, Himself, has set Himself aside to do the Father’s will.  To accomplish all that the Father sent Him to do.  The will of the Lord Jesus, and the will of the Father are one and the same.  Be assured today, that, it is God’s will to complete what He has started in you, and He will.  You are His ambassador in this world.  Let’s live as though we are.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Flame Of The LORD

The story that is told in chapter 11 is often one of David’s sin; after all he is the character, the king, of whom much is written, and to whom many promises have been made by God.  Of his throne having no end, and having an everlasting kingdom.

King David, however, is not the intent of this message.  There is a man in this story who received a bum deal, from the man in whom he had placed his life, the lives of the people in the city of Jerusalem, including his own wife.  This man is none other than Uriah, called, “the Hittite”.  Being a Hitite would have made him not only a foreigner to Israel, but he would have previously been an enemy of Israel.

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

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

OUTLINE 2 Samuel 11:6-13 –

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

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

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

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

URIAH WAS FAITHFUL BECAUSE THEY KNEW WHERE HE WAS (vv. 3, 6).  “It is 10-O-Clock.  Do you know where your children are?”  This was a question posed on a television commercial a few years ago.  It was asked to draw attention to parents and children, that parents are responsible for their children and need to know where they are.

One of the signs of faithfulness is that people who know you will be knowing what you are doing, when you are doing it, and where you are.  You can and are depended upon for your faithfulness.  Uriah was that faithful man; faithful soldier; faithful husband; faithful to God and king.

Uriah was known as a good soldier, even a “mighty” soldier (23:39).  He is called one of Davids “thirty mighty men” (23:8-39).  Would to God that Christians would be good soldiers for the cross of Jesus Christ our Lord.

God is faithful; He will always be faithful to His Word, His will, His children and His promises.  He calls us to faithfulness, and to be diligent, and vigilant to the task to which we have been called.

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

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

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

Many Christians were not of the “Household of faith” concerning Judaism, and faith in God.  However, because of the grace of God in His Son Jesus Christ anyone from any race, or religion, can come to God through Jesus Christ’s death, burial and bodily resurrection.  Through Jesus Christ alone now Jew and Gentile have a way to the throne of God.  Uriah found that way through faith in God, through the promises of God’s Word.

Where are you concerning God and faith in Him?  Where are you in your walk with God?  Where are you in regards to your faithfulness to Him?

URIAH WAS OBEDIENT TO THE KING’S COMMANDMENT TO RETURN HOME (v. 7).  Uriah was probably wondering about the purpose of his being called back to Jerusalem.  He is one of David’s “thirty mighty men”, as has already been noted.  He may have thought, “The king desires that I get some rest and relaxation”, but his heart had no desire for it.

Uriah was obedient to the king’s call.  He returned to Jerusalem just as the king requested.  He would not, however, go to his home, rest, and relax while his fellow soldiers were fighting out on the battlefield.

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

URIAH WAS LOYAL TO THE KING AND ALL THE OTHER SOLDIERS WHO WERE FAITHFULLY FIGHTING THE BATTLES (vv. 8-13).  The loyalty of Uriah is clearly seen.  He is not only loyal to his king, but loyal and faithful to the other soldiers who are not getting the call from the king that he received.  Uriah would have made a good United States Marine Corp Officer or soldier.  “Semper Fi” or “Always Faithful” is the motto of the Marine Corp, and that seems to have been Uriah’s creed as well.

Remember king David had an ulterior motive for Uriah going home.  However, Uriah would not go home to his wife, his heart was on the welfare of the king and his troops on the field.  The good soldier is thinking about the safety of the others, and their leader and nation.  The heart of Uriah at this point in time puts the heart of king David to shame.

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

David was so desperate to get Uriah home he gave him fermitted beverage to make him drunk to maybe get him home to be with Bathsheba, to cover his own sin.  Even in his drunken state Uriah still had the mind and heart to be faithful to God, king, and country.

URIAH IS FAITHFUL TO GOD, HIS WIFE, HIS COUNTRY AND HIS KING EVEN UNTO DEATH – CARRYING HIS OWN DEATH WARRANT (vv. 14-17).  King David upon realization that he would not convince Uriah to get home anytime soon; sent a death warrant by Uriah’s own hand to the General in the field – Joab.  Unknowingly, most likely, Uriah takes the hand written message written by the hand of the king that would cause him to die.

We could say, “Like a lamb to the slaughter”.  The meaning of that is somewhat obvious, but let me give some explanation.  The lamb is trusting, dependent upon its shepherd, and sometimes the shepherd leads a lamb to be slaughtered for the meat.

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

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

Oh, Christian when we see a brother or sister in Christ; who has plunged headlong into sin; whether they be a church leader, leader’s wife, or the man or woman in the pew; that is the time to be the “Flame of the LORD”, stand as an example of faith and light, be faithful to God, and don’t let the darkness of sin pull you in and down.

Jesus said, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?”  Luke 12:49 (KJV).  His Holy Spirit within His followers are the possessors of that Fire; and that Fire possesses us as well.  Let us walk in the light of that flame.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Smallness Approved

It has been quite some time since dealing with the prophecy of Zechariah, but I am back to it today.  The portion we look at in this study is while the Angel of the LORD is speaking with Zechariah concerning the temple which was built in the remnant’s return from Persia, and the Babylonian captivity.

There are people who seem to think that smallness is a bad thing, and some in Zechariah’s day were seeing the foundation of the rebuilt temple as smaller than the previous one, which was Solomon’s Temple, and it was significantly smaller.  Let us consider the significance of “Smallness” in life.  We all start out as wee little babies, that is no secret; but then grow into monsters sometimes to build majestic empires in our own names.  Smallness is not bad, especially when God is in.  In the case of churches; there are many more small churches, than there are large Mega-churches (if there is really such a thing).  When I speak of churches here I mean the people, the congregation which makes up the Church.  Let us not despise the blessing of “Smallness” as God leads us.

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:8-10 (KJV)

The Word of the LORD came to Zechariah; and this is the angel of the LORD who has been speaking with him since the beginning (v. 5, 1:11, 12); saying that Zerubbabel would lay the foundation of the “house” and would “finish it”.  This is during the time of Ezra (Ezra 5:1-2).  The people complained of the temple being so small in comparison to Solomon’s, and not so glorious (Haggai  2:1-9).  Reading Zechariah and Haggai we see that God endorses, designs, and approves this smaller temple.

Zerubbabel’s finishing the temple; though “Smaller” and “less glorious”; was evidence that the LORD of hosts had sent the angel to Zechariah.  There will be rejoicing in the presence of the LORD, and no one should despise the “small things” which the LORD has designed, and approved.

“The plummet” is the measuring line which Zerubbabel used in measuring and laying out the foundation.  The “seven eyes” is the fulness of the LORD’s Spirit in the rebuilding of this temple.  He is delighted in it.  He is glorified in it, and will be glorified in the future temple of the returned Messiah, the King of kings.  In the writings of the Chronicles of the kings it is written;

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

The “Eyes of the LORD” are eyes of peace and love to those who yield to His power and glory.  He knows every heart, and every thought, and sees every deed of mankind.  He does show Himself strong for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him.  The remnant returning to Jerusalem, and rebuilding the temple were blessed by God the LORD in their obedient faith to Him.  Those who return to the LORD in faith will be blessed for their obedient faith in that future day, and every day they will return to Him.

Let us not be down trodden with concerns about the size of our churches, businesses, or our “kingdoms”, but rather be blessed in knowing that God approves the work of “Small things” when they are done in obedience to Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Trusting, Obedient Son

I want us to remember what was told in the last study of this chapter; that Isaac could have been as much as 37 years of age.  He asked Abraham, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (v. 7).  It is a legitimate question.

Abraham and Isaac have made the journey to the top of Moriah alone, father and son together.  The sacrifice was only something the two could do alone. The following is what takes place on the mount;

“And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” Genesis 22:9-10 (KJV)

This place was a place which would be in years to come the place the temple was built (2 Chronicles 3:1), and near the place another sacrifice was to take place hundreds of years later, ie., the sacrifice of Jesus the Son of God.  It was the place of God’s direction, the place of God’s design, the place of meeting the One and only living God.

When they reached to top Abraham began gathering stones and built an altar; a place to lay the wood for the fire and the sacrifice.  Abraham is set on obedience to God Everlasting (21:33) for he is fully trusting that God will not go back or against His covenant with him.

Something that is overlooked is the trust and obedience of Isaac.  A young man, no more than 37 years of age, could very easily overthrow an old man of about 137 years (that would be about the age of Abraham at the time of Sarah’s death) if he were not a trusting and obedient son.  Seeing his father lay the “wood in order” on that altar, and then his father taking the ropes to bind the sacrifice; taking Isaacs hands, his feet, then laying him on that altar; there was most certainly tears in both sets of eyes.

This reminds me of the statement of the writer of Hebrews, “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him…”  (Hebrews 5:8-9).  These verses speaking of course, of the Lord Jesus Christ who went with His Father to Mount Calvary, and gave His life as a ransom for the sins of the whole world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Here I Am

Abraham had made an agreement/covenant with Abimelech of the Philistines, the inhabitants of the land, and the greatest thing I see in the previous chapter is and he “…called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” The land to which God had called Abraham was the land of the Philistines, it was not yet the land of Israel, but it was the promised land.

God calls out to Abraham again,

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” Genesis 22:1 (KJV)

The great response of Abraham should be the response of everyone who knows the “Everlasting God”. The promises of God are good and grand. The promises of God are as good as God is good; they are as grand as God is grand. The promises of God are eternal. The promises are as eternal as God is eternal. “Behold, here I am”. This response was not to let God know where he was but to give God himself.

When he left Ur he left believing God was leading him to a land; in that land he would become the father of a mighty nation; to become a father of a mighty nation means that there would be a son born. The promise was true; the years passed; and eventually in God’s timing the son was born.

Abraham had grown over the years in his faith. He had grown to believe that the land which God had promised was going to belong to his children through a son that was to be born to him. He had grown to accept the fact that the conception, and birth of the promised son would be in God’s own timing; and not in his own. Abraham probably didn’t understand why it was taking “so long” in his estimation, but he had waited and continued believing; even after he and Sarah’s sin with Hagar. Now God was going to call on Abraham to do something that would stretch faith to the limits.

God, the “Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33) only had to call his name, “Abraham”, and he responded in faith. Not knowing what lay in store again, he answers, “Behold, here I am.” This “Here I am” was not to let God know where he stood, lay or walked; but to give himself to God and His will. “Here I am; ready to go where YOU go.” “Here I am; ready to do what YOU want me to do.” Or, “Here I am; do what YOU will with me. I am in YOUR hands.” It was notification of submission, not information of his location.

The first test of faith is our response to God’s call. Do we respond, “Oh no! Not again!” or do we respond as did Abraham, “I am here LORD. I am willing, and ready to fulfill YOUR bidding.”?

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Walk of Faith

The Walk of Faith

“And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.” Genesis 17:23-27 (KJV).

Abraham follows the LORD in the obedience of faith. Faith is not to gain favor with God, but is the gift of God, and because of favor with God. God always takes first initiative. If it were left up to us we would never reach up to Him.

Abraham’s faith was an implicit obedience. He did as God had said to Him. He asked no reason why.

It was a speedy obedience. It was done “in the selfsame day”. Delayed obedience is disobedience. When we have God’s direction to do something that is the time to act, and do it. Do not let the sun set on your God given direction.

It was total obedience. He did not excuse himself – he too was circumcised. He passed the seal of the covenant of faith to the rest of his family and all those who would follow him.

The head of the Christian family, who is faithful to Christ, will lead his family, and his associates in the ways of the faith.

Walking with God is of great importance for the Christian. We can learn much about this walk by this portion of Scripture dealing with the eternal covenant of God. Earlier there was mentioned four different types of “Walking With God”. You can see them in this text. 1. Walk before God; 2. Walk after God; 3. Walk with God; 4. Walk in God. The first as that child running ahead of the father closely watched and protected, and the last being to walk in union with God – His thoughts being our thoughts, His ways being our ways, His desire being our desires. All Christians are somewhere in these walks with God. If you are not walking with Him you are not on His journey. Get on it.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Judgment that Stands

The Judgment That Will Stand

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Matthew 7:24-29 (KJV).

The foundation is one of obedience. Is it required that a follower of Jesus be obedient? Should a child be obedient to their parents? Obedience is as a child to a parent or master who has our best interest at His heart. So my answer to those questions is YES!! Perseverance is the mark of obedient faith – it stands in the times of storms and trouble. It has a foundation which is built upon the Rock. This rock will never fall, nor will the foundation that is built upon this Rock.

There was a time when the Southern Baptist Convention was leaning very strongly toward liberalism; denying the truth of the authoritative Word of God, opening it up to what is called “Higher criticism”, and interpreting Scripture in light of our culture rather than for what it says. I was attending Boyce Bible School’s satellite branch in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1980. There was a discussion going on about the controversy among some of us students following a class. Some were questioning where to stand on this controversy. I answered this way. I said something like this, “Considering Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount to be a wise builder and build on the rock. You stand on the Rock” Someone asked, “Well which way is the Rock”, to which I said, “The one which is standing on the truths of God’s Word”. The best I can remember that was the end of the discussion. I know it was for me.

Jesus Christ Himself is the Rock, and we must trust Him to be our Rock of security, strength, and power. He is our authority. The people who heard this Sermon on the Mount realized His authority. “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”. He is the authority, and anyone who detracts from Him is a liar and a deceiver. His judgment and the judgment of His Word will stand forever.