When No One Else Does…

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 (KJB)

Micah saw many who professed the name of the LORD who were not faithful to the LORD in His word.  They were afflicted yet turned to other sources of help. Micah says,

“Therefore I will look unto the LORD…” The Lord GOD is my help. He is my Salvation. I will wait – I will trust in Him, even if no one else does.  God will hear me.

 

Therefore I will look unto the Lord — as if no one else were before mine eyes. We must not only “look unto the Lord,” but also “wait for Him.” Having no hope from man (Mic_7:5, Mic_7:6), Micah speaks in the name of Israel, who herein, taught by chastisement (Mic_7:4) to feel her sin (Mic_7:9), casts herself on the Lord as her only hope,” in patient waiting (Lam_3:26). She did so under the Babylonian captivity; she shall do so again hereafter when the spirit of grace shall be poured on her (Zec_12:10-13).” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

“Things had come to an awful pass in the favored city. Oppression, bribery, and bloodshed, were everywhere in the ascendant. Men wrought evil with both hands. Husbands could not trust their wives. At such a time there is no refuge for God’s children save in God, Mic_7:7-13.” THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY by F. B. Meyer on Micah 7:7-13

Your only hope and help for salvation is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Call on His name today. He will hear you, save you and change your life for His glory.

The Name of the Lord Jesus Christ Be Glorified in You

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is right, because that your faith grows exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other abounds; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure: a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer: seeing a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 4:16; Revelation 6:10; 14:13; Psalm 68:35; 79:6; Deuteronomy 33:2; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 1:7

God of Our Hope

The God of Hope

Romans 15:1-33

The chapter begins with summing up of the previous teaching of considering others in our demeanor, actions, and deportment. We need to act in accordance with what will glorify our Lord, and keep our brother or sister in Christ from falling.

Paul even means that we go much further than tolerating a brother’s weakness, but rather do all possible to strengthen them in faith. Carry their load. Carry them when necessary.

We are to see to it that we with one mind and one mouth glorify God together, “even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Having the heart, mind, and mouth like unto that of Jesus Himself. Being likeminded together, with Him (vv. 1-7).

Paul was obviously a believer in God’s promises. He understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises of God, and their confirmation.

1. The Confirmation of the Promises came by Jesus Christ (v. 8). The Old Testament is full of promises. Promises of the coming One. A Deliverer. The Messiah. A Savior who will save the people from their sins.

In Jesus’s birth He confirmed Scripture. Born a Jew. Born in Bethlehem. Called a Nazarene. He fulfilled the law.

He was a healer; healing the lame, and the blind. Lepers were freed from their sores, the dead were raised to life. He walked on the water, stilled storms, fed multitudes, and cast our demons

Only few followed Him, and still chose to go to the cross and die for our sins as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).

2. Jesus Confirmed the Promises by Opening the Gate for all people. Paul reminds his readers that God’s plan has always been to include all people no matter what their race or nationality or culture (vv. 9-13).

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalms 18:49 (KJV) v. 9.

(v. 10) “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deut 32:43 (KJV).

(v. 11) “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” Psalms 117:1 (KJV).

(v. 12) “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” and “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:1, 10 (KJV)

All our hope and power is from the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

3. Something in which to Boast (vv. 14-21). When is it right to boast? We can boast of the faith, work, patience, boldness, and goodness that others do through Christ Jesus.

We can boast of the goodness of God, and what He has done in us, and through us.

To boast of anything concerning Jesus’s mighty deeds is a good boast.

4. Through Prayer for the Sovereign Leadership of the Lord in our lives and other’s lives we can grow in trusting The God of Hope (vv. 22-33). The following was the desire of Paul’s heart, and his requests from the Roman Christians.

To be delivered from the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem;

That his work and ministry for Jerusalem would be accepted by the believers;

That he would be able to visit them – at Rome – in the will of God and be “refreshed” = renewing joy, peace and rest; with them.

God is the sovereign One. He directs the affairs of all people in all lands. His will will be done despite our arrogant, self-styled, self-willed disobedience.

When Allowances for Evil are Made

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:18-29

In these verses, we will see that Jesus, as the holy and righteous Judge, will not tolerate wickedness, corruption in His Church, but that He exposes and judges it, and sets apart those within the body who are not partakers of the vileness.

Jesus introduces Himself to the church of Thyatira as the Judge. He is one who exposes unrighteousness in the forms of heresy, idolatry, and all abominable acts.

This church was a corrupt church. Toleration of “Jezebel” is their chief sin. Refusing to confront and judge her themselves, Jesus would come and do so Himself.

False teachings still corrupt the church today. There is very little teaching of holiness or righteousness, but much about self-awareness and self-acceptance. There are also teachings of “Antinomianism” disguised as freedom in Christ, the priesthood of the believer, and the liberty of the Spirit. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” from the bondage of sin. We are not at liberty to sin, but at liberty to serve and follow Jesus Christ.

There may have been some who tolerated “Jezebel” in order to practice “Church Growth”. There is a “Jezebel spirit” in that area especially. BEWARE!!!

Verse 18 begins the longest letter, and it is addressed to the church of Thyatira.

This letter opens with a word of warning to the unrepentant church member. The way in which Jesus identifies Himself is the warning. “His eyes like unto a flame of fire and His feet are like fine brass” (1:14-15). His eyes are eyes which pierces through the hardest of hearts and determines the motive and sees the sin of every heart. The feet like fine brass. His feet are pure and He is worthy to judge all who fail to give Him place – His rightful place.

Thyatira was a small city approximately 40 miles East of Pergamum. It was known as a city which manufactured purple dye. It is mentioned in the book of Acts 16:14-15. Lydia, a purple merchant, was from Thyatira and very well could have been used by God to start this church.

The people of the church for reasons yet to be mentioned have to be reminded of the deity of Jesus Christ, therefore, in this letter alone does He identify Himself as the Son of God. What tragedy when the Church loses sight of His divinity.

This is a church that is the opposite of the church of Ephesus. It appears their love for Jesus was stronger, their works were not mere religion, but done out of true love for Jesus (v. 19).

The church of Ephesus had the works but not the love, but they hated false teaching and dealt with it. The church of Thyatira had the love but tolerated false teaching and evil. Both of these are in the extreme on opposite ends. There needs to be both a love for Jesus and hatred for false teaching and evil and confronting it. This church sounds much like many churches of the 21st century. “You can love the Lord, and other gods and things; we will love you, no matter what; and there will never be any judgment against you. Let’s love and tolerate one another.”

Sin and false teaching must be dealt with.

The condemnation against Thyatira is because of tolerance of evil, deceptive teaching led by a strong, domineering woman who is “Jezebel” in character. “Jezebel” is probably a symbolic character reminding the people of the domineering, deceptive practices of the queen of Israel in 1 Kings 16 and following, who led Israel into Baal worship while pretending to hold on to the worship of YaHWeH (vv. 20 – 23).

This woman may have had a large following because of her strong leadership abilities and her loose morals. She probably was seen by some as a peacemaker, a worker for unity, especially between Christians and the government, and employers who did not want Christians who stood up for their Savior. She was corrupting the Church. This was probably the beginning of Maryolotry. Putting the virgin Mary on equal, if not a greater scale with Jesus.

Jesus gave her time to repent, but she refused. All who yielded to her teachings and practices would be cast into judgment with her. The bed that had been a bed of pleasure and peace would become a bed of pestilence. “Kill her children with death” is showing pestilence – disease, plague, drought – it would end in death.

By this judgment, all the churches will know that Jesus knows the heart, mind, and motives of His people – and of the wicked as well. When these have sown seeds of corruption what is the harvest, except corruption – destruction.

“Jezebel” would be an unredeemed person who crept in by stealth and deceit. Her only purpose is to lead astray, corrupt, and destroy. God’s purpose would be to strengthen the believers.

To those who are pure – have kept themselves from this doctrine of “Jezebel” Jesus’s promise is to put no other burden upon them (vv. 24 – 25).

This is the third letter in which Jesus has mentioned the enemy (Satan). To Smyrna, He calls the false Jews, “The synagogue of Satan”. To Pergamos, He calls it the place “Where Satan’s seat is”, “Where Satan dwelleth”, and then of Thyatira, “Those who have not known the depths of Satan” – probably referring to indulgence to sinful idol worshipping practices which “Jezebel” practiced along with her followers. “Give in to the world. Be silent about your faith. Do not lose your job because of Jesus, just go along with the crowd”. God forbid that we give up and give in to “The depths of Satan”.

Jesus says to those who are faithful, “Hold on to that which you have.” Keep the faith. Be patient, “Until I come”. This is a promise of deliverance to the faithful.

In verses 26 – 28 Jesus mentions the overcomer. The overcomer operates by faith and keeps His works unto the end. He has no other life. He knows no other position, than the one he has in Jesus Christ.

Notice the mention of the Millenial reign of Jesus. Yes, I believe the millennial reign of Christ to be literal. There are hundreds of Old Testament passages having to do with the Kingdom of Christ on earth where the lamb will lie down with the lion and wolf, and children play over the dens of serpents. The “Overcomers” will be given a position of authority in that day. Remember! We are joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17) and “All things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:22). This rule will be one of shepherding people who are on earth at that time. When do you see the “Morning star”? At the beginning of a new day. A new day begins in Jesus Christ. He is the Morning Star. The “Overcomer” is one who is a possession of Jesus, and Jesus is their possession.

Verse 29 gives us the call to hear. It is the first of the seven letters that have the invitation to hear on the very end of the letter.

It is at the end of the following three letters as well. Perhaps to let all know, who are reading and hearing these words, and find themselves in a similar predicament. Jesus will be the judge of all sin and sinners who do not repent of their sin. Woe be to the one who does not hear and heed the message to the church of Thyatira.

In conclusion, wickedness abounds in this world. This is not the time for the church to be tolerating evil practices and/or false teachings. When we give allegiance to the world and “Christ” we give no allegiance to Christ.

The world around us is looking for hope and deliverance from all the things which plague our world. The Church has the answer. If we follow the world, who does the world have to follow? We are the light that shines in the darkness. Evil corrupts, but the light will overcome.

Be a source of hope to a dark world by building on the foundation principles of the Word of God and His righteousness in Jesus Christ. Let the world know there is right in the Light.
Jesus, to this very day, is the Judge of all evil and corruption and He still will not tolerate evil, especially within His Body, which is the Church.

Brethren, Pray for Us…

Even the apostle Paul; maybe I should say, “The apostle Paul” needed prayer just as any of us do.  Prayer must not be something we do only when we have an emergency situation.  We “…ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).  Sometimes we get requests for praying for specific personal needs from others, and that is good.  Paul had need in the following request because he sensed, that the word and gospel of Jesus Christ were being attacked and hindered.

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (KJV)

I am certain Paul had other more personal needs, but this request shows that his heart was on the things of Christ, not of the flesh.  Note that he first asked that the word have free course; that it would spread throughout Thessalonica, and surrounding areas freely, in power, and with speed.  He requested that we pray for the glory of God, and His word, and to be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for there are people in the world who get hateful toward the word of God, and the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and His cross.  That is true in 2017 as well.

He tells us that “…For all men have not faith”, and the state is a continuation of the “Unreasonable and wicked men” in the areas we live.  Some of these unreasonable people do not want God in anything, even to the point of using law to oppose God, who is the One who has given us law.

Let me end by encouraging you to stay faithful to the Lord in His word, and prayer, living for Him; being a faithful witness of His power and glory; knowing that He is coming soon.  Let us wait patiently for Him.

Remember He loves you so much He willingly went to the cross, died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again, and He is returning.

Christmas Day Seventy and Two

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to wear the clothing  of the mind of Christ which include tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing others, and forgiving any who may offend me.

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:12-13 (KJV)

For further study on this topic follow this link.

Day Two Nine Four

What do I want for Christmas?

I want to live my life in the fulness and power of the Holy Spirit of God; that others might see the power and work of God, His Word and His Spirit in me.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Galations 5:22-26

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

Waiting

“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation.” Psalm 62:1 (KJV)

There is much said in Scripture of waiting.  Patience is the key to this word, and I do not know about you, but I am not often a patient person.  I believe The Lord has taught me patience over the years I have grown in Him.  Today, as I have in the past I will let someone else do the commentary on this verse.

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we read,

David’s profession of dependence upon God, and upon him only, for all good (Psa_62:1): Truly my soul waiteth upon God. Nevertheless (so some) or “However it be, whatever difficulties or dangers I may meet with, though God frown upon me and I meet with discouragements in my attendance on him, yet still my soul waits upon God” (or is silent to God, as the word is), “Says nothing against what he does, but quietly expects what he will do.” We are in the way both of duty and comfort when our souls wait upon God, when we cheerfully refer ourselves, and the disposal of all our affairs, to his will and wisdom, when we acquiesce in and accommodate ourselves to all the dispensations of his providence, and patiently expect a doubtful event, with an entire satisfaction in his righteousness and goodness, however it be. Is not my soul subject go God? So the Septuagint. So it, certainly so it ought to be; our wills must be melted into his will. My soul has respect to God, for from him cometh my salvation. He doubts not but his salvation will come, though now he was threatened and in danger, and he expects it to come from God, and from him only; for in vain is it hoped for from hills and mountains, Jer_3:23; Psa_121:1, Psa_121:2. “From him I know it will come, and therefore on him will I patiently wait till it does come, for his time is the best time.” We may apply it to our eternal salvation, which is called the salvation of God (Psa_50:23); from him it comes; he prepared it for us, he prepares us for it, and preserves us to it, and therefore let our souls wait on him, to be conducted through this world to that eternal salvation, in such way as he thinks fit.

from the Matthew Henry Commentary

Hear this from the prophet Isaiah,

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

Patience and the LORD

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1 (KJV)

Are you a patient person?  I probably could have gone all day without asking that question. right?  If your honest answer to that question is NO! Then join the growing crowd.  I am not normally a patient man.

Many Christians when we pray we want an answer to our prayers really quick; you know –  “Lord give me patience, and give it to me now.”

The Psalmist David “waited patiently for the LORD”.  If there is any where we should be patient it is in our walk with GOD.  I am growing to understand that He sees the bigger picture, and I only see a very small portion of it.  It is true of us all.  The LORD knows the beginning from the end.  He Himself is the First and the Last.  He is the Alpha and the Omega.

Waiting is not sitting down doing nothing.  Waiting takes much effort, much trust, and obedience.  So, in that time of waiting, what am I supposed to do?  Do all that He has said.

One of my favorite verses of Scripture is Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength…”  I will let you look it up yourself, and be blessed.  The LORD He hears the cry of those who “Wait” on Him.

Through the Bible in a Year – Planned 110313

Counting Joy

James 1:1-4

We must realize that if we are to count joy…

1.  IT WILL BE A PURPOSEFUL DECISION (v. 2).
“Count” = consider, command (with authority), have the rule over.

2.  WE DO NOT HAVE A DECIDING FACTOR IN WHICH TRIALS WE WILL GO THROUGH
“Temptations” = trials, a  putting to proof, adversity
A.  That is the decision of the Creator;
B.  Sometimes bad decisions we make (‘Fall into divers temptations’ v. 2).

3.  WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST THAT THESE TRAILS WILL WORK OUT PATIENCE IN OUR LIVES (v. 3).
“Patience” = endurance, constancy,

4.  WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO OUR PATIENCE BEING PERFECT LACKING NOTHING (v. 4)
“Perfect” = complete, growth (mental and moral character)

-Tim A. Blankenship
This is the outline for the message I had prepared for Sunday November 03, 2013; but I had a heart attack on November 01 putting me in the hospital for the weekend.

Through the Bible in a Year – 090813

Our Relationship to the Time We Live
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4;  3:1-5

1.  DO NOT BE SHAKEN OR TROUBLED (2 Thessalonians 2: 1-2).

2.  A FALLING AWAY SHOULD BE EXPECTED (v. 2:3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 4:2-5).

3.  PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER AND THOSE IN LEADERSHIP (2 Thes. 3:1).

4.  PRAY FOR THE WORD OF GOD TO MOVE FREELY (3:1).

5.  PATIENTLY AWAIT THE COMING OF CHRIST (3:5).

W4CL – Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Galations 5:22-26 (KJV)

Paul gave us examples of the works of the flesh in the verses  preceding the above text.  They are the evidence of ungodliness.  Many of the works of the flesh have been seen in professing Christians; however they are the works of the flesh; and not of Christ.

The works of the flesh come from the heart and mind of unredeemed men and women.  It can be the old left overs of one’s past life, and the Christian must put them to death.  The Christian will produce the Fruit of the Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Notice the fruit –  “Love, joy, peace”  The three go together; you cannot separate peace from love or joy, nor joy from peace and love; nor love from joy and peace.  The peace of God which passes all understanding (Romans 5:1-2; Philippians 4:7).

“Longsuffering” that is basically patience, enduring faith in God, forbearance with others.

“Gentleness” equals moral goodness, integrity.  You are the same in your behavior when you are alone as  you are when you are with people.

“Goodness”  Upright in heart.

“Faith” having a conviction of the truth.

“Meekness”  not too many people desire to be meek; however that is a fruit of the Spirit.  Jesus said of the meek “They shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).  Jesus is a good example of meekness.  Knowing who He is, did not retaliate against those who hated Him; instead, He said, “Father, forgive them they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34).

“Temperance”  means self-control.  This begins with have a clear mind, clean heart, and life.  One cannot have self-control if they have the works of the flesh.  The works of the flesh are in control.

Walking in the Spirit gives the Christian freedom to walk with Jesus; free from condemnation, guilt, and fear.  The fruit of the Spirit is what comes from the Christian who is trusting the Lord.

In Christ Jesus you do bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Power Over Nations

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; ‘These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 2:18-29 (KJV)

For further study and reading follow this link.

-T.A.

The Love Left

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; ‘These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”  Revelation 2:1-7 (KJV)

For further reading and study on these verses go read The Caretaker of the Light.

-T.A.

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 37 – Thoughts from Psalms; Waiting

The word wait is use nine times in the reading for today.  My reading was from Psalms 24 – 37.  Waiting is not a pleasant thing to do; especially in today’s fast moving world.

We wait in traffic.  We wait for that job interview and job that is going to put us in a higher income bracket, and maybe on “easy street”.  We wait at the doctor’s office.  We wait in the Emergency Room.  We wait for news of family and friends to come.  It seems when we are anxiously waiting that it takes forever coming; whatever it is we are waiting for.

We are admonished by Scripture and these Psalms,

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

Expectantly is the idea of “Wait on the LORD”.  Trusting Him in the time when things do not seem to be happening.  What are we to do while we are “Waiting on the LORD”?  We do what we know to do, keep on going, keep on trusting, but by His directives and plan; not our own.

“Yea, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.” 25:3-5

There will be no shame for those who are waiting on God; ie, trusting in Him.  Too many times we jump ahead of what God wants us to do, and we end up making messes of our lifes situation.  That is seen in the business world, and the spiritual lives of people.

A Christian business man may know to trust the LORD in his business situation, yet a need may arise for a certain type of qualified individual who can get the job done, and he takes the first one who comes along, and things end up in a mess.

I fear there are far too many churches, and Christians who are having worship services that are geared to fleshly activity rather than divine worship; because they want to “prime the pump” so to speak, getting ahead of what God’s word teaches, and instilling their own devices.  In this we end up with a mess; outside God’s directive and plan; where He is not truly worshipped and praised.  We feel good, but God does not.  No shame will come to those who wait on God.

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” 37:7-9

The word “wait” and “patiently” are used together in the first part of these verses and the idea is a bit different.  It seems that it is almost a painful thing, sort of like an exercise of building strength, character, or patience.  I do not know if you have ever prayed for patience, but I can almost assure that if you have, or when you do, something will come along which will build up patience in you; a trial of great pain and sorrow.  It was the apostle Paul who said,

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience…” Romans 5:3

“Waiting on the LORD” means also that we are living His way, not our own.  Let me end this commentary today with these words,

“Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” 37:34

His way is found in Scripture, the Bible, and these words tell us of the One who would come to take away our sin and its condemnation.  That one is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.  He told us, after His death, burial and bodily resurrection that He would return.  Let us who believe Him, and trust Him wait patiently for that blessed hope and glorious return.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Evidence of a Dead Heart

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” 1 Peter 2:1-3

It is a certain fact that all men are dying.  There have been only two exceptions to this in Scripture, and those two were Enoch of Genesis 5:21-24; and Elijah of 2 Kings 2:9-11.  Even Jesus Christ died; and He did that for you and me; taking all the sins of the world upon Himself, taking the wrath and judgment of the Father; and we by faith are justified through faith in Him.

Paul the apostle says that the evidence of a new heart is bearing fruit, or the evidence,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law; and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.   If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”  Galations 5:22-26

It is a hard matter, but there are professing Christians who seek to do harm to their brethren, and that is malicious behavior.  Desiring the harm of another is “malice”, and comes from an evil heart.  Peter says that the Christian, follower of Jesus Christ is to lay these matters aside; and you could say “Put them off” entirely.  He includes “Guile” which would be scheming deception to achieve your own way, and or lying to protect you own skin.

The Christian is to be real.  Hypocrisy is found where ever there are people.  The Christian might be hypocritical at times, but should not be a hypocrite.  Being a hypocrite is one who dwells in that way; always pretending to be something they are not.  It is the hypocrite who goes to church, speaks the theological language on Sunday, at Sunday worship; appearing holy, yet curses his fellow employees, employer and others the rest of the time.  It is “Envy” which caused the religious rulers to crucify Jesus (Matthew 27:18).  Envy is a form of jealousy which will do anything, even murder, to get what they want.

These things which control a life are not the fruits of the Christian.  They are the Evidence of a Dead Heart.

The “Newborn babe” desires the word of God, and grows in it.  The Christian is not perfect, nor sinless, yet we are growing into the image of Christ; if indeed we have “Tasted that the Lord is gracious”.

-T.A.

Observations From Judges – 041111

The book of Judges is about the grace of God toward Israel.  They have come into the Promised Land which was given them by GOD, with instructions and laws to follow and to be obedient.  As long as they obey God’s commandments they will be prosperous and own the land, but they begin to practice worshipping other god’s; the gods of the surrounding people, whom they are supposed to drive out and destroy.  This is part of their disobedience.

GOD is longsuffering and merciful.  We find these words in chapter six,

“And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, that the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, ‘Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drave them out from before you, and gave you their land; and I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed My voice.'”  Judges 6:7-10 (KJV)

One thing we can observe in Judges and throughout the whole of the Old Testament is that God sends His prophets before He sends judgment.  The prophet Amos spoke by the leadership of God’s Spirit saying,

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7

We can rest assured that before God does anything He sends His preachers to warn and instruct of what is going to come.  For Israel in that day it was “fear not the gods of the Amorites…” but they did not obey.  The people had cried out to the LORD, and He sent a prophet.

Not only that the LORD Himself came down as we read in verses 11-23.

The Lord Himself has came down, in the person of His only Son, given His life on the cross, was raised from death, hell and the grave; and by Him we have eternal life.

Believe Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD Knows…

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1 (KJV).

This Psalm is one of my favorites.  It is one that lingers in my memory.  I do not know that I set out to purposely memorize it, but it is there.  The collection of the Psalms are words of encouragement, hope, and you see the hearts of the writers of the Psalms.

David is known to be the human author of most of these writings of Biblical poetry, but it is  also known that some of them were written by Moses, Asaph, and maybe another one or two.  We do know and believe that these are words which are inspired by God Himself.  They would not be present in the Canon of Scripture if they were not.

This first verse of the Psalms begins with a “Blessed” or “Happy”.  This would be the individual who is fulfilled.  This individual does not seek ungodly counsel from others, nor do they go to the ungodly seeking godly counsel.

This individual does not have dealings with the rebellious and wicked; taking a bold stand against immorality.  The places where the “Blessed” individual stands is upon the Word of God, in places that lift up the Lord.  The place of the “Blessed” individual’s seating is where God is seated.

The ’scornful’ are those who make a mockery of God, and scoff at all who profess Him and godliness.  An individual usually sits, comfortably where they live.  The “Blessed” individual lives in the presence of the LORD God.

Everyone “Delights” in something.  There is something that you can hardly do without, maybe a new car, new house, new suit of clothes, more money,  more of anything, that you perceive as good.  We can get our hearts set on something, and that becomes our “Delight”.

Gulom of the Lord of the Rings story had his “Delight” on the Ring of power.  J.R. R. Tolkein wrote the story, and it shows an analogy of the power of sin in our lives.  Gulom had been a normal hobbit until the Ring was found and he murdered his friend, took the Ring, and became a creeping, rock crawling, pale, almost sickening being.  The picture is surely that sin will destroy you.  To Gulom, the Ring was his “Precious”.  That was his delight.

In Psalm 1:2 the Psalmist writes, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.”  We  have been told in verse one what this individual does not do; now we see what this godly individual does.

She/he holds no “Delight” in the wickedness of the world or its things.  The heart has been reborn.  The more the “Delight” is in the “law of the LORD” the less these things of the world become anything of importance.  The law of the LORD is something the man and woman of God delights in.  They meditate on it day and night.

To wake up thinking Scripturally.  To go to bed at night thinking Biblically.  What a wonderful “Delight” it is.  The Word of God is more precious than anything this world has to give.  DELIGHT IN THE LAW OF THE LORD.  Within its pages you find life and eternal life.  It will take you to the person of Jesus.  Sin will hold no power on you.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  Psalm 1:3 (KJV).

Have you ever noticed trees by streams of water during a drought?  Trees on the hillside away from the streams often begin to look a little dry, and sometimes leaves begin to fade, but the trees by the streams never fade in the heat of drought.  The Psalmist paints us a lovely picture of the follower of Christ Jesus who stays in, abides in, continues in the Word of God.  He/She “delights in the law of the LORD”, and when troubles come they just keep on ticking.

The fruit will keep on coming despite droughts, despite hardships, and even despite the storms, though the storms may cause severe damage.  The one who keeps themselves in the Word, the law, the way of the LORD will also prosper in all they do.  Do remember that prosperity is not always in things, but peace, comfort, encouragement, love, wisdom, grace, mercy, etc..

Just as the tree planted by the rivers of water is always at the mercy of the stream which flows by so too is the follower at the mercy of the One whose Word we read, hear and practice.  We/You are always in His hands.

There is such evil in our world at times.  Murders happen each and every day and even in each hour of the day.  Some of which we never hear about.  There are many crimes done to other human beings, of whom all are made in the image and likeness of God, and by God Himself.  He alone gives life, and He alone can justly take a life.

“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”  Psalm 1:4 (KJV).

We have seen the blessedness of the one who walks with God, and that she/he delights in the law [Word] of the LORD meditating in it day and night; and that this individual is like a tree planted by the rivers of water.  Now that is quite refreshing to a child of God; to know that whatsoever they do shall prosper.

There is a somewhat sad statement, yet, a statement that should encourage us as well.  The encouraging thing about verse four is that God will judge wickedness, and will not let it go unpunished.  The sad thing is that there are those who are “Ungodly”.

The “Ungodly” are those who will set out to oppose all that is godly, righteous, just, and of God.  Whether we want to admit this or not they do exist.  A few years ago we  heard of a group who on a website asks for those who will commit the “Unpardonable sin” to sin against the Spirit of God and forever condemn their soul.  The ungodly are those who just completely reject the love, grace, mercy, and cross of Jesus Christ.

These are as the waste of the wheat as it is thrashed.  When the winds of life and God’s judgment comes are driven away.  May God save those who will hear Him, and believe.

In the first Psalm we see the blessedness of the one who is right with God.  They do not seek ungodly counsel, nor do they participate in sinful endeavors, nor try to rule with the scornful or as the scornful.  The “Blessed” are those whose “…delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night”.  Those who do this are strong, supplied, and sufficient for all things.

“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” Psalm 1:5 (KJV).

The ungodly and the sinner are the same.  They are not right with God.  Their delight is to do the things that gratify their emotions, thinking, lust, greed, and power.  These are ones who will not hardly hesitate to use a friend, sometimes even a family member or spouse, or co-worker to gain what they desire; what they delight in.  They certainly have no desire for God.  God would be an interruption in their life.

The path of the ungodly and the sinner is that they will not be able to stand before God in the judgment with their good deeds.  They will be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:11-14;  v. 12), and will not be able to give any reason for their unbelieving hearts.  There will be no room for the ungodly and the sinner “…in the congregation of the righteous”.

Who are the righteous?  All those who have come to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, and received the righteousness of Christ and have been raised together with Him, for all eternity.

Sin definitely has a hold on the human race.  Why many do not want to see it is beyond reason.  One Monday morning at Virginia Tech, in April 2007, we saw the results of sin, and there is only one answer for sin.  The life of a perfect sacrifice.  And we are not it.

“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish”  Psalm 1:6 (KJV).

Cho Sueng-Hui a student with a visa from South Korea went into a dorm and killed two fellow students.  He, then proceeded to Norris Hall where students and teachers were gathered for classes, and shot and killed thirty more, and then, turned the gun on himself.  This man does not need my condemnation, nor anyone else.  He is condemned far greater than anything you or I could.  He is forever in the absence of God’s presence.

Those who have become so encumbered by sin that they follow its call will do almost anything.  Let no one say, “I could not/would not ever do what that man did”.  You just might.  As long as you turn a deaf ear to the Lord; your heart will grow hard, heavy, and madness of evil can easily set in.  You could find yourself doing all kinds of evil, that you never dreamed possible.  You say you don’t believe in evil.  Do not be deceived.  You saw it take place on Monday morning April 16, 2007, and every morning before and since that dreadful day.  Evil is more powerful than you or I can deal with alone.  The end of evil is destruction.

The LORD knows ‘the way of the righteous’;  He should because He directs the way of the righteous.  The LORD does not direct the righteous to kill, maim or destroy.  He directs the righteous to live godly, holy, and sanctified lives for His glory, and calls us to call others unto Him.  The way of the righteous is also the way of peace, mercy, justice, love, joy, gentleness, patience, self control.  They show forth those things which have been called the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Cross

There is something special about the makeup of mankind’s heart and life.  First of all it is patterned after our Creator.  He made us in His image, though that image be marred by sin. 

The way in which it is special is that we are most at peace when we are most like Him.  That is; peaceful, loving, kind, faithful, gracious, merciful, joyful, serving, patient, gentle, and having self-control.  There are some who try and be the opposite of these things, and live in abject misery; yet thinking, “Now this is the life!”

There is only one way to be as our Creator would have us, and that is to follow His Son Jesus Christ.  He said,

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26 (KJV)

Jesus’s own words are “If you will follow Me…”  Following Him is to be like Him and His life.  He sacrificed His time, His life in ministry to help people and minister to them.  He was never distracted from His reason for coming, and that was to die on His cross for the sins of all mankind; His destiny in this life was to give His life as the payment for our sins.  With Him; in His mind and heart; that was as good as already done when He was speaking to His disciples at this point in time.

In the verses above He calls for all who would follow Him to take up their own cross and follow.  What is our cross, if we are to follow Him?  The cross in that day was an object of death.  It was a tool of the Roman government to punish capital criminals, and put them to death.  So when Jesus speaks of “taking up your cross” He is meaning the laying down of our lives.

No woman or man can be a true follower of Jesus Christ who has not given up their very lives to do so.  To not lay one’s life down for Christ and His gospel is to lose your life.  To lay down your life for Christ is to gain your life, and eternity with Him.

Paul the apostle probably had these words in His mind when he wrote:

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

To have the fruits of the Spirit of Christ, ie., “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance…” Galations 5:22-23 (KJV), we must like Paul, the other disciples of Jesus Christ, lay down our lives as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1), and showing forth the honors and glory of our Lord and Savior.

Refusing to give your all for Jesus Christ may just gain you the world, and all it possesses, but you lose your soul, your very life; and eternal peace and joy will never be yours.

The King’s Cross is the way to blessing, peace, joy, love, contentment, and eternity with our King.  The King of all kings; and Lord of all lords.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Magnificent Surrender

PURPOSE:  Since becoming a Christian is the most important thing to happen in one’s life there are many similarities to our lives with Mary, the mother of Jesus; We received a special call, and appearance from our God; We have been given a message to share with all people;  We must be obedient to God if we are to be counted faithful; We have a right worship of God and His Son Jesus; and we worship with expectation of His soon coming and with patience we wait for Him.

OUTLINE FOR Luke 1:26-56:

I.  A MAGNIFICENT APPEARANCE (vv. 26-28).

II.  A MAGNIFICENT MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR ALL PEOPLE (vv. 29-37).

III.  A MAGNIFICENT OBEDIENCE (v. 38).

IV.  A MAGNIFICENT WORSHIP (vv. 39-55).

V.  A MAGNIFICENT PATIENCE (v. 56).

There are probably many things in life which we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell that we could call “Magnificent”.  However, when it comes to the eternal things truly only one thing, and person can be called “Magnificent”, and that is the appearance, message, obedience, worship, and patience of our Lord Jesus.  He is truly MAGNIFICENT!

A MAGNIFICENT APPEARANCE (vv. 26-28). In the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy the angel Gabriel appears in Nazareth to a young virgin girl by the name of Mary.  When we have no reason to doubt the Word of God we must believe that when God says she was a virgin, then she was indeed a virgin.

Gabriel is the one who had appeared to Elisabeth some months before, and now appears to Mary with the news that she will have a child.  How must have Mary felt at the appearance of Gabriel?  Shocked, unbelieving?  Now remember this was a period of time when visions, spiritual experiences with angels was a rare thing.  God had not spoken through prophet or angel for 400 years.  How would Christians of today [2008] react if our Bibles were taken away, and there was no more revelation from God for so many years?  I dare say that that would be a test that would certainly separate the confessors from the possessors.  It seems to be the case in Jerusalem and Israel during the days of Zachariah, Elisabeth, and Mary as well.

With the appearance of the angel comes words of encouragement, words to be remembered by all.  “Thou art highly favored”, “Blessed art thou among women”, and “the Lord is with thee” are words we can trust and believe and rest in.

It is God who sent Gabriel to Mary.  He has a specific message for Mary, and that is that she will have a Son; not just any son of man; but He will be the Son of God, and Son of man.  We will get to Mary’s question in the next point.  Let me stress this at this point;  Mary was not an “Unwed mother”.  Note the instructions to Gabriel, “To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph…”  Espousal was more than an engagement; at least as we know engagement here in the USA; it was a binding covenant made earlier, and could only be broken by a writing of divorce.  There had, however, been no consummation of the marriage by sexual intercourse.

Truly this appearace by Gabriel to Mary was a Magnificent Appearance.

A MAGNIFICENT MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR ALL PEOPLE (vv. 29-37).  Troubled as most of us would be the angel gives her words of comfort, and tells her she has been favored by God.  It has been decreed by God through Gabriel that Mary is “Full of grace”, which means she is a receiver of grace, not a dispensor of grace.  This same term is used in Ephesians 1:6 “he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (KJV); and is reference to all who are in Christ Jesus.  Anyone who would use this to give Mary co-redeemtrix rights is Biblically incorrect.

This is the first, and last miracle virgin conception of God.  Let me give you the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY definition of the word “MIRACLE”:

“1. An extraordinary event manifesting a supernatural work of God; 2. An unusual event, thing or accomplishment: WONDER, MARVEL…“

Now, my definition of miracle is a little different than that:

A miracle is an act of God where He breaks through the laws of what is natural, to accomplish a greater purpose for His glory.

God transcends the laws of nature that He has made, and can at any time, any place, and with or without anyone or anything perform what we would call “Miracle”.  With Mary God would perform a first.  “The virgin will conceive, have a son…” Isaiah 7:14 (HCSB) were the words of God through the prophet Isaiah to king Ahaz.  Though the prophecy had a lesser fulfillment in Isaiah’s day, it was fully fulfilled in Mary’s conception of Jesus Christ.  Though Isaiah would not know of whom God was speaking , futuristically, the LORD had one specific young woman for this task, ie. the task of giving birth to the Messiah,  and her name was Mary.

With the medical technology we have today I really don’t understand why anyone would have a problem believing in a virgin’s conceiving a child.  Though today’s virgin conceiving would be by “arificial insemination” or “invitro fertilization” it is still possible, yet the seed implanted would still be a human father, and not God.  God also placed His seed in the womb of Mary without any means other than His Word.

The angel telling her she will have a Son, and also tells her His name.  In the prophecy of Isaiah he calls Him “Immanuel” meaning “God with us”, and here “Jesus” means “The Lord is salvation”.  Both names are for our Lord Jesus, and they fit Him.  He would be the means of grace and mercy and salvation to all nations.

Notice these great things that are given to Jesus:

1.  He will be called the Son of the Highest;
2.  He will receive the throne of David;
3.  He will reign over the house of Jacob;
4.  His kingdom will have no end.

Mary, knowing that she was a virgin; asked Gabriel, “How can this be since I have not been with a man?”  The answer to this came by the angel basically letting Mary know that this was a “God thing”.  It did not require a man, but God had chosen her to be the vessel to bear His Son, give birth to His Son, and to teach Him godly living, and faith.

One thing which we must note right now is that God chose godly, expectant, faithful people to bear two of the most influential people ever born to man.  We are told of Zachariah’s and Elisabeth’s “Righteousness”.  We are also told that Mary was “full of grace” before God (Ephesians 1:6).  The only righteousness that is worthwhile for us is God’s righteousness, and He gives that to us by GRACE.

News of Elisabeth’s pregnancy, and the approaching birth of her promised son was told to Mary.  This may have helped confirm the angel’s message to her.  It does confirm to Mary and all who will believe that there is nothing impossible with God.

A MAGNIFICENT OBEDIENCE (v. 38).  Too many people fight, kick, and murmur and complain about the will of God.  Then, when it is all over think, “Well!  Why didn’t He call me and use me?”  Is there any young lady, who is a virgin, be willing to do what Mary did?  There are too many young people and adults who are too self-centered; who are looking out for themselves, and care nothing for living for God, and faith.

After the angel Gabriel tells Mary of her “Highly favored” situation with God Mary’s response is one of obedience.  This is not evidence of her placement into a divine position as co-redeemtrix with Christ, or of her supposed immaculate conception.  It is simply her willingness to be a tool for God’s purpose and His glory.  It is nothing more than what any of us can do; and that is being a willing, obedient vessel for God’s glory.

We – Christians – are in fact doing just that when Christ becomes our Lord and Savior.  The Seed of God is given to us, resurrecting our dead spirit, and empowering us with the Spirit of God.  Consider John’s [the apostle] letter, writing;

“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His Seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9 (KJV)

The above verse, of course, addresses the practicing of sin in a habitual fashion, and as a way of life.  The part I am dealing with is the “His Seed…” portion.  It is God’s Seed that cannot sin.  It is God’s Seed that gives the Christian life, and the heart to hate evil, and all sin.

It is just as much A MAGNIFICENT OBEDIENCE when any child of God hears the voice of God, and is moved to obey in faith believing all that God has said to do.

A MAGNIFICENT WORSHIP (vv. 39-55).  Mary, now, having conceived in her womb the Son of God journeys to the home of Zachariah and Elisabeth and stays for three months.  Mary probably stayed until the birth of John Baptist; because we are told, taking verse 24 and 26, that it was six months that Elisabeth was with child, Mary stayed three months (v. 56), so surely she stayed until the baby John was born; and could very well have been there when Zachariah’s tongue was loosed (v. 64).

Upon Mary’s arrival to the house of Elisabeth John leaps in his mother’s womb, and Elisabeth is filled with the Spirit.  Songs of praise and adoration break out from both women.

“Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”

The words are those of Elisabeth.  She recognized the one who was carrying the Son of God within her, by the voice of His mother’s greeting.  Elisabeth was giving blessing to Mary because she had been the willing, chosen vessel by God to carry the Son of God in her womb.  Elisabeth’s initial thought was of her unworthiness to be in the presence of the mother of her Lord.

How could Elisabeth even know that Mary was bearing a child, little lone, that she was bearing a son, and not just any son, but the very Son of God?  The work of the Spirit of God.  The “Fruit of thy womb” of course was Jesus, and He is blessed, and He blesses all who come to Him.  Elisabeth even recognizes that Mary has given the utmost of her life to our Lord, surrendered to Him, and is blessed because of who He is; and because of this God is about to fulfill His will in and through her.

Now take a look at Mary’s song:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
because He has looked with favor
on the humble condition of His slave.
Surely, from now on all generations
will call me blessed,
because the Mighty One
has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has done a mighty deed with His arm;
He has scattered the proud
because of the thoughts of their hearts;
He has toppled the mighty from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
mindful of His mercy,
just as He spoke to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his descendants forever.
Luke 1:46-55 (HCSB)

Note that Mary does not congratulate herself, but gives glory to our Lord; to the greatness of the Lord.  She rejoices in the fact that she has “found favor” with Him; and she refers to “God my Savior”, recognizing her need for God as Savior alone.  With Elisabeth’s and Mary’s praise we have much to practice in praise, worship and adoration.

A MAGNIFICENT PATIENCE (v. 56).  Wouldn’t it have been fascinating to be in that house those three months?  Both the mother of John the Baptist, and the mother of Jesus the Christ going about household duties, chores, and since Elisabeth is the elder one, and having a baby probably needing some assistance from Mary.

For three months Mary is learning from her cousin the things that only women can learn from one another; what an elderly woman can teach to a younger; and they probably spent much time in worship of the MIGHTY ONE of Israel.  For three months Elisabeth draws ever nearer to the day when she will give birth to John, Mary begins showing signs of pregnancy, and grows more and more expectant for her nearing day.

All mothers have, and show patience for that awaited day when the labor pains begin (though not looking forward to the pain, but the outcome), and they begin the birthing process.  Expectancy, excitement, rejoicing are great words to use to express the heart  of that mother when her child is born; but can you imagine the joy that was in the heart of Elisabeth as John is born, knowing that he will be the first prophet since Malachi, around 430 B.C.; and that he will be the herald for the Messiah who is to be born only six short months later.  They are seeing the evidence of God’s message returning to His people who have been in darkness for so long; and this is without the Ark of the covenant.

“Patience is a virtue”, someone has said.  Much is said of patience by the apostle Paul.  As Mary needed and displayed patience while with Elisabeth the Christian today needs to be patient in living for Jesus Christ.  The heart of the Christian is looking for the appearing, the coming of Jesus once again.  Have you ever heard someone who professed to being a Christian say, “I don’t want Jesus to come back today!”?  My question to that would be “Why not?”  What is more important than the coming of Jesus?  That is the heart of the truly born again believer.

I can almost guarantee that the most important thought in Mary’s life; when she received the announcement that she was going to carry and give birth to the Son of God; was not “What is Joseph, and my parents, and others going to say?”  Her thought was most likely, “In nine months the Messiah will be born, and for these nine months God has given grace, to me, to bear His Son.”  Nine months to display patience.  Nine months to plan, prepare, and proclaim the coming of the Lord.

We do not know the day or the time of our Lord’s coming for His Church.  We have been given an indefinite time to plan, prepare, and proclaim the coming of the Lord.  We too can display A MAGNIFICENT PATIENCE.  A Patience that is found only through the faith and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

It Will Not Tarry…

THE SECOND PROMISE

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV).

 

Habakkuk is seeing a vision of God. He has had many a question. God wants to reassure the prophet that what He has told him will come to pass just as He has said. He must wait for it. It will come, and it will not tarry.

How many times do we grow impatient for the way of the Lord? We know He has promised something and we wonder, “When?” We even lose hope for a while, and we try to intervene, and then, that may end up delaying the promise because of our unbelief, or at least when it seems longer in coming we feel we are the cause of delay. We must learn and know God has an appointed time for every event. One day it will occur just as He has promised.

 

Think of God’s promise to Abraham for a son. For many long years he and Sarah waited, yet no son. Until, one day Sarah had this “brilliant” idea. “Why don’t you sleep with my servant girl, have a baby by her and fulfill God’s will for us”. Believe it or not Abraham conceded and they had a son. This was not in accord with the promise of God. Any time we try and jump ahead of God we bring trouble on ourselves.

God’s vision is for an appointed time. God will fulfill His promises. The following is a quote from my study of the first four verses of chapter two:

“Verse three tells the prophet that the vision God has given has an appointed time. It may seem as though it is being delayed, but it has a time of its own – by God. When its time comes it will not delay. It will not ‘tarry’. When God’s time for carrying out His promises come; they will be fulfilled, and to the letter. There are many who because, the rapture of the Church, or the glorious appearing of our Savior has not yet occurred think it is not literal, or that it has already happened. It will happen – in God’s time (His appointed time), and it has not happened yet. It will, and will not tarry. This is just as a means of illustrating, but it does make the point – God’s Word will be fulfilled completely.”

 

The Lord is merciful and gracious. That is something for which all people should be grateful. When God does judge sin He judges it completely. He will not leave any of it. When He judged the earth the first time by flood every soul of man was destroyed, except for eight. Except for those on the ark every flying fowl died, and every walking fowl. Every beast of the field. It was tragic to say the least, but God will not tolerate sin.

That same thing is true in His people. The word He has spoken will come to pass. He judged the Nation of Israel and Judah. They had turned their back on Him, worshipped other gods, lived in iniquity, and offered children in the fire. His promise is, “Write the vision… For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”. Note the emphasis put within this promise of the fulfillment of this Word from God. It is an appointed time – God’s time not ours. At its appointed time it shall speak, and then, no one will call it a “Lie”. This is an assurance of the truth of God’s Word. Though it may seem long in coming, “Wait for it” – in other words with enduring patience keep on living your faith (“But the just shall live by his faith”). Just because the promise seems long in coming does not give us license to live in rebellion against God and His Word. It should be motivation to live by faith. Again the assurance is given “It will surely come”. The fulfillment of God’s promise; both for cleansing judgment and for renewing. And, once again, the assurance that it does not “Tarry”. It will be at God’s “appointed time” – no sooner, no later.

 

Many of God’s promises that have not yet been fulfilled for Israel will yet be fulfilled. Yet, there are many who want to continue to tell us that God is finished with Israel as a Nation, and that these promises are for the “New Israel” meaning the Church. These promises to Israel the Nation will be fulfilled. They are not just spiritual promise, but literal physical promises of returning to the land of promise. Of a literal King who will forever sit on the throne in Jerusalem. Those promises will come, and they will not tarry. It will come in God’s appointed time. In the meantime keep living by the faith God has given you.

The greatest promise of all is the return of Jesus Christ.  Before He died on the cross for the sins of the world Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…” (John 14:3).  On the cross He took the sins of the world, the sins of mankind upon Himself, became sin for us, was judged by His Father, enduring the wrath of sin that belonged to you and me, dying, forsaken by His Father, victorious over the enemy, was buried carrying our sins as far away as east is from west, and casting them into the deepest parts of the sea.  He then, after three days, rose bodily from the grave, then forty days later was seen ascending into the clouds, and those who witnessed were told, “…This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11).  When He comes He will not tarry.  Even so, Come Lord Jesus. 

-by Tim A. Blankenship