Leaven and Bread

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.  And He charged them, saying, ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.’ And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’ And when Jesus knew it, He saith unto them, ‘Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? Perceive ye not yet, neither understand? Have ye your heart yet hardened?  Having eyes, see ye not?, and having ears, hear ye not?, and do ye not remember?
When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’
They say unto Him, ‘Twelve.’  ‘And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up?’ And they said, ‘Seven.’  And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye do not understand?’” Mark 8:14-21  (KJB)

Leaven is an ingredient which causes bread to rise giving the appearance of being more than what it is.  It is puffed up.  It is often used in Scripture as representative of evil and its influence in people, and doctrines of religion and men.

The leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees, the Herodians which the Sadducees were part of and was more political than religious.  The Pharisees were always twisting Scripture to fit their own understanding to keep the people in bondage to them, and their understanding of Scripture.  They put burdens on others that they would not do themselves.

I realize there is more to understand in the above verses than of leaven, but it was the words of Jesus ‘Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod.’ which aroused my attention this morning.

Using Scripture to control others as did the Pharisees, and they tried to control Jesus too but could not; is an evil beyond description.  The preacher, the messenger of the word of God is to proclaim the truth of the word of God [Scripture] with clarity, understanding, and love letting the word and the Holy Spirit convict, comfort, encourage, and draw the lost, condemned soul to God.

Having a “Must do” list in order to be saved is leaven to the Scripture.  Salvation, sanctification, and glorification is solely the work of God.  Let us leave it there.

To Fulfill God’s Will

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And He saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:14-18

From verses 12 – 13 of the previous post, The “Ten horns” are ten kings which will rule the earth.

These unite to make war with the Lamb. They will be defeated by the Lamb because He is the “Lord of lords, and King of kings”.

There are four descriptions of the people of Christ: 1) They are with Him, 2) Are called, 3) Chosen, and 4) Faithful.

The fall of Religious Babylon is described in these verses. The sovereignty of God is seen throughout all of Scripture and it is none the less so here. God using a wicked political system to put away the wicked religious system. God hates hypocrisy and destroys all religion that opposes His plan and will for mankind. Remember this, “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will… until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”  God does work in mysterious ways; His wonders to perform.

When these political rulers think they are serving their own purposes and plans they will actually be carrying out the judgment of the Holy God upon the unholy harlot.

Any religion that bases salvation of man upon works, rather than by grace through faith, is a false religion and will fall under the judgment of our holy God.

The keeping of sacraments, indulgences, confession, rosary, witnessing, saying empty words, are works; and not grace provided by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. To claim works obtain salvation is to make void the cross of Christ, and commit “spiritual adultery”.

WORKS ARE THE FRUIT OF SALVATION, NOT THE CAUSE.

This will be THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MOTHER/CHILD RELIGION. Let me pose a question. Could this beast be the beast of democracy?

Religion rides highly in democratic governments, in most cases. Just think about many of the political campaigns of our day. Somehow “god” always comes into the picture. God is a big campaign word.  It is sad when the name of God is used in Church to make personal gain.  It is sad to see it in politics as well.  It is even spiritually gross to hear His name used to promote wrong, vile, and evil things.

O, friend, will you turn your life; your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength over to Him now?  He died on the cross for you, was buried, and He arose alive, and lives forever.  Call on His name and He will hear you, save you, and give you eternal life.

From Maxine

I received this in my emails, and thought some of you might enjoy.  If you have already seen it, enjoy it again.
Subject: MAXINE – scroll down
Maxine should run for president — she was right on with this one!                                           
Everyone concentrates on the problems we’re having in this country lately…illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, alligators attacking people in Florida.
Not me — I concentrate on solutions for the problems — it’s
a win-win situation.

* Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.
* Send the dirt to New Orleans to raise the level of the levees.
* Put the Florida alligators in the moat along the Mexican border.

Any other problems you would like for me to solve today? Yes!

Think about this:
1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments

COWS
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our
government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 12 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.  

 
THE CONSTITUTION
They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq ….
why don’t we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys,
it has worked for over 200 years, and we’re not using it anymore.


THE 10 COMMANDMENTS  

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments
posted in a courthouse is this — you cannot post “Thou Shalt Not Steal”“Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” and “Thou Shall Not Lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians, it creates a hostile work environment.
Also, think about this … if you don’t want to forward this for fear of
offending someone — YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!   

It is time for America to speak up!

Yep, I passed it on!

How This Conservative Evangelical Died…

Here is some food for thought.

brandon andress

This is the first of two posts that I have to preemptively tell you that my heart in this is motivated only in love and service to helping Christians (including me) more closely align in following the way of Jesus. I simply ask that if you are a Christian and one who struggles with anger when a person challenges your faith perspective, then maybe park this post until you can read it in a non-defensive, non-oppositional, and peaceful posture. These words are meant to begin a civil conversation and dialogue and then to guide us into deeper reflection and dependence on the Spirit of God in our lives.

Too many times, Christians read what I write (with the most recent example being about Christians and politics) and quickly retort, “Well, I disagree with your position,” or, “Well, that is just your opinion.” Others immediately dismiss what I have written and…

View original post 1,591 more words

Some Sermon Thoughts from 2 Chronicles 17:1-19

When We Walk in the LORD

  1.  Hearts will trust the LORD and not in the supposed power of man and politics (vv. 1-6).
  2.   The Word of God will be proclaimed in life and land (vv. 7-9).
  3.   The People around will fear God and respect you (vv. 10-11).  See Proverbs 16:7
  4.   Your land and life is blessed by God (vv. 12-19).

From a sermon preached on May 15, 2016

Christmas Day Two Hundred Thirty and Three

What do I want for Christmas?

Today’s “want” is going to be a bit political, but I see it as a real need among those who name the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

I want for those who call themselves Christian to decide to get behind one Presidential candidate who has some principle, moral character,  a desire to listen to God and His word and show this Country [U. S. of A.] through the might, Spirit and power of God who the real power of this country is  – not us but Him.

I do believe that if Christians would get behind the candidate like this, this individual would win the election.

The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: He maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:10-12 (KJV)

This is a work, a miracle only God could perform.

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Nine

Everyday is Christmas – What do I want for Christmas?

I want to put my complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for the problems I personally face, for the problems of my family, and the problems of our Nation (the U. S. of A.); to realize that our trust must be in Him alone, not in politics or any political, deceptive so called leader.

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”  Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”  Psalm 118:9

Doctrines of Death

There are teachings of men and religions which are doctrines of death; not life. Teachings which bind in sin, and offers no freedom from sin, are doctrines of death.

Of course when we live in a society and culture of sin; who knows what is sin? Who knows what is right and/or wrong? According to our culture today the only thing wrong, is to say sin is wrong, if that sin is how they are living. In other words to call adultery a sin is a sin, because you have offended the sinner.

Jesus came to give life to those who were living death sentences. We are all living a death sentence until we come to Christ Jesus Himself. Jesus saw the teachings of the Pharisees, and of Herod as leaven. In Scripture “leaven” or yeast is a type of sin which permeates, and goes throughout the “bread” causing it to rise, or puff up. Hear the words of Jesus:

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And He charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:14-15 (KJV)

Jesus addresses much of the leaven of the Pharisees in Matthew 23. They were making people more disciples of hell than they themselves were with their teaching. Herod was a political leader; and of that we need to be aware as well. Jesus called him “That fox” (Luke 13:32).

Religion and politics mix well when they are corrupt. The religion of the day; in the day of Jesus and ours, and politics are deceptive, and corrupt. The religion that mixes well with politics is the religion that believes politics is the answer for mankind’s ills, and works to attain God’s favor.

There is life when one comes to Jesus believing Him, and turning from sin to life in Him.

From George Orwell’s “1984”

Power & Tyranny—George Orwell (1903 – 1950)

Following World War II, persons on both sides of the Atlantic were doing a good bit of soul-searching. The “war to end all wars” (World War I) had been nothing of the sort, and in many ways set a trajectory for World War II. British intellectual George Orwell wrote poignantly about the nature of power, particularly the danger of centralized power.

In the following quotation, taken from Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, penned in 1949, the hero, Winston Smith, is being interrogated and tortured by the epitome of government power and tyranny, O’Brien. Throughout the book Winston has been able to avoid punishment, even though he has “come alive” and has realized that something is radically amiss with his culture and with the all-knowing and all-powerful “Big Brother.” He has sought to live a somewhat independent life, ignoring at least some of the dictates of the tyranny under which he lives. But he eventually is caught, and O’Brien, in the midst of torturing him, explains to Winston something of the nature of political tyranny and power. Though not a Christian, Orwell’s insights are bracing.

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness; only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?1

Footnotes:
1 George Orwell, 1984 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1949; New York: New American Library, 1984), 217. Citations are to the New American Library edition.

A Major Moral Issue

The following is an article from Kairos Journal

The Pansexual Appetite

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.”

Genesis 19:4-7 (NIV)

Sociologically speaking, homosexuality ultimately leads to predatory activity. Research has shown that male homosexuality specifically is associated with a ravenous “pansexual” appetite that spawns other, even more heinous perversions. As psychiatrist and physician Jeffrey Satinover has demonstrated, “What we call the ‘gay lifestyle’ is in large measure a way of life constructed around unconstrained sexuality.”1 Wherever homosexuality flourishes and the cultural limits of sexuality are broken, not even children are safe from the effects.2

When the wicked men of Sodom approached Lot’s door and demanded access to his two male visitors, their intent was clear. The phrase “so that we can have sex with them” is synonymous with the rendering “so that we can know them.” The Hebrew verb “to know” used in this context carries with it the connotation of sexual relations (e.g., Gen. 4:17, 25). In verses 7-8, Lot clearly understands the word to be used with a sexual meaning. He calls their desire to “know” the men a “wicked thing” and offers his virgin daughters as a substitute. If their desire were simply to get acquainted with the men over a drink, Lot’s response would be absurd. Seeking to dismiss the matter of homosexuality as the sin in this passage, one modern interpretation insists that evidence in Ezekiel 16:49-50 suggests that God actually judged the Sodomites for their pride and lack of hospitality. But this explanation is weak if not laughable: both of these sins were bound up with a whole city engulfed by a drive for same-gender sexual relations. The sin had been compounded to such an extent that every man of the city viewed mere visitors as prey (v. 4).

Other pro-homosexual biblical interpreters argue that the sin of the Sodomites was not homosexuality per se, but the violence that they coupled with it—that is, their intention of gang rape. Jude 7, however, simply states that the sin of Sodom was that they “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued ‘strange flesh’”—the typical language Scripture uses to refer to homosexual activities. But what those who would seek to find something exceptional about the homosexuality in Sodom do not recognize is this: homosexuality in general opens the floodgates for all sorts of other deviant behaviors. They are inextricably linked. The men of Sodom who had given themselves over to same-sex intercourse eventually became the men who preyed on innocent visitors to their city.

Those calling for the normalization of homosexuality in modern cultures may not realize what they are asking for. Although many homosexuals are not predators like the men of Sodom, the truth is that the general practice always opens up a Pandora’s box to other kinds of deviancies such as pedophilia. Again, Satinover reports that “careful studies show that pedophilia is far more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals.”3 For this reason, those who seek to prevent special “rights” being given to same-sex relationships do not do so out of spite, bigotry, or hatred toward any persons. Rather, they act in the interest of the social good; they realize that if homosexuality is given a “free pass” in society, a host of attending evils will follow in its wake. Long before the fire and brimstone fell, the judgment of homosexuality had already begun within the walls of Sodom and Gomorrah. The same will occur in any culture that permits the practice to spread unabated.

Footnotes:
1     Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 61.
2     Satinover warns that the acceptance of homosexuality results in a “general lifting of sexual constraint, which the philosophy that undergirds gay activism necessarily promotes.” Such an environment, he goes on to explain, produces an environment in which pedophilia becomes more acceptable. Ibid., 62-63.
3     Ibid., 64.

You can find other interesting articles on spiritual and moral issues here and you can receive free email updates from them.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

Woes of Trust

Trusting is a necessary in many places of life.  It is necessary that husbands and wives trust one another fully.  It is necessary that friends trust one another.  It is necessary that business partners trust one another.  In these relationships, if there is little or no trust the relationship will not last long.

Trusting takes a willingness to be the one who takes the loss, should it come to that.  Take a loss without revenge, or getting even.  Trust means being the one who endeavors to right the wrongs, or absorb the wrong in behalf of the other.  This trust of which I presently speak, of course, is of human relationships.  When it comes to trusting the Divine One; our GOD, and Lord, then that trust is completely without risk, in faith.

The people of Judah were trusting in Egypt, yet failing to trust the LORD.  That is Isaiah’s message to the people when he writes to them –

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”  Isaiah 31:1 (KJV)

When it comes to the humanity of us we are pretty quick to trust in what we can see.  For instance, if we see a company or an individual who is successful in making wealth, we will almost automatically trust that individual or company to give us good advice, and sometimes even trust them with our wealth.  We judge pragmatically thinking, “If it has worked for them, then, no doubt it will work for me.”  We can end up being “burned”, “Scalped”, and left holding an “empty bag”.

Human reason often leaves GOD out of the matter of safety, economy, politics, personal wealth,  health, etc.  We think “That is not anything I need to concern God about”, or “I can handle this matter myself”.  So thought Israel, and they were trusting Egypt to come to their aid against Babylon, and they were defeated.

It will bring peril for an individual to place their trust in human advice alone; without seeking the LORD’s leadership.  We can go to a financial adviser/counsellor to get advice on a financial matter; however, if this adviser gives shady advice then we better have the counsel of the LORD on the matter; or we will find ourselves in the proverbial “hot water”.   Then, where will that adviser be.

Israel was about to be let down by trusting in the defenses of Egypt and her great army; because they did not have the heart and mind of GOD.

Having safety and security is not dependent upon any human government.  Our economic prosperity is not dependent upon the Congress, the Senate, or the President of the USA.  Our dependence for safety, economic blessing, protection from enemy attack comes only from our LORD, and that only when His people trust solely upon Him.

Woe to them that go to China for help, who trust in their own military might, or the power of the congress, senate and/or President, and power of the dollar; because they are strong; but they look not unto the Holy One…, neither seek the LORD!

Let’s call unto the Lord God, humble ourselves before Him, repent of our sins, turn from our wicked ways, and trust Him to forgive our sins, and heal our land, then we will be renewed and strengthened, and healed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Observations From Matthew – 031111

Reading today from Matthew 23 – 25.

After doing my reading this morning, I was wondering what I should post this morning for the Scripture reading over on our church blog, and our son James called and told me about a huge earthquake which had just happened in Japan.  Now, there are tsunami warnings out for all the West coast of the continental USA, Alaska, that they were vacating the Island’s of Hawaii, and Australia and other places.  It just reminds me of the reminders our Lord gives that He will return.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”  Matthew 24:36-39 (KJV)

“You Christians have been saying that for years, and it hasn’t happened yet.”  You could even say, “It has been being said, for about two thousand years”, and I would even go further than that.  God has been telling us that since near the beginning, because through Enoch was written the words,

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  Jude vv. 14-15

and Enoch lived before Noah (Genesis 5:24).

We need not ask “When is Jesus Christ Returning?”   We do need to ask, “Is my life ready for His return if He were to come today?”  Since we do not know the day or the time we need to be drawing near to God through His Son Jesus each and every day through His Word and prayer, committing our lives to holy living through the power of His Spirit who lives in those who have called on the name of Jesus Christ.

If you will look around you today you will see much chaos.  Economic upheaval, National and international catastrophe, Political upheaval in all shapes and sizes; democratic, republics, dictatorships, anarchy.  Yet I believe God still reigns.  He is on His throne, and prayer changes things and people for the glory of God.

We have all these chaotic things going on, yet some people pay no mind, no attention to these matters; they just keep on partying, marrying, giving in marriage; and making no change to the way they live.  It is time to direct our hearts to the LORD of hosts.  He has directed His eyes toward us.  He has sent us His Son Jesus to die for our sins; made a way for all who will believe to call on Him and be brought into fellowship with Him.

You may think, “I can’t change.  I have tried many times and failed”.  To that I say, “No you can’t change yourself.”  However, God can change you.  Admit to Him that you are a sinner, that you are powerless, and submit yourself to His grace, call on Him, believe and be saved.

-Tim A. Blankenship

How Are We Doing?

In the past thirty years or so it would appear to me that Christians have fallen away from the idea of evangelism.  We have turned to the political arena, and there have been some good things happen from going to the polls and letting “our vote count”, and we must continue to do that.  However, dependence upon the political to legislate change, moral change in particular has given us government out of control.  We are gradually losing our freedom of speech, and will eventually lose it entirely.

The power of changing lives of individuals is solely in the hands of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Forcing moral change through law has never worked, and never will.  Paul the apostle wrote many years ago –

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16 (KJV)

It would appear that we [Christians] have stopped believing in the power of the gospel of Christ.  We place more hope in our government than in Christ.  We have more confidence in the power of the president’s pen, than in the quiet, soft voice of the Spirit of God.  We have more faith in the politicians power than the power of the Word of God.

Why do I say these things?  We will strongly urge everyone, “Go and vote on election day”, but rarely do we say something like, “Be sure and tell someone about Jesus today, or this week”.

Let me give you a personal example.  I am often asked, “What do ya know?”; and my answer is always disappointing to me.  “Not much”.  Though the question is often asked as a means of getting a conversation going it should give me the chance to tell what I do know about Jesus Christ, His life, death, burial, resurrection; and His second coming.  Boy!!! would that be a conversation grabber.  Now I know that everytime someone asks me “What do ya know?” they don’t really want to know what I know, but I should and could share with them anyway.  I have responded a time or two, “Do really want to know?”

At any rate the hope of this world is not power, popularity, politics, or prestige.  The hope of this world is Christ Jesus.  Paul said he was not ashamed.  No Christian will be ashamed of the very one who delivered and delivers us from our sin and eternal destruction.

Someone gave an acrostic for GOSPEL  as God Offers Sinful People Eternal Life.  That is what Jesus has done for us on His cross, and proved the power of the cross by the resurrection.  He lives, and because He lives we live.

There is no power greater than the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He possesses the power to change a murderer into one who loves life – his own and others lives.  He empowers the child molestor to become a man or woman who loves children, and would never do anything to harm, molest, or torment them.  He empowers the sexual deviant to become one who is moral, and respects his/her gender and the opposite gender in the correct, moral and Biblical manner.  He empowers the sinner to become a lover of God, His Son, His Spirit and His Word; and live according to the directives of His Spirit and Word.

We must never forget that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  That means me, and that means you.  That means all with one exception, and His name is Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Let’s be faithful in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ; “it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”; and it matters not what sin they have sinned.  Legislate morality all you want, still lives are not changed until we meet Jesus, surrender our wills to His, and then we are changed with the desire to be like Him.

In answer to the question, “How Are We Doing?”  It does not seem too well.  We can do better.  I can do better.  God has not failed us. He will never fail us.  As the Lord has told us in His Word,

“The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Perfection is only through His Son Jesus.  Believe on Him and live.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Just A Thought 08/11/09

Those “Town Hall” Meetings

I generally don’t get involved in the political arena, but there are times I feel something needs to be said, so I will say it.

As most American’s know in recent days our politicians who are in favor of a government health care bill coming to pass have been having “Town Hall” meetings to hear your voice. It seems to me that many of them cannot take the heat.

Maybe I am wrong about what I am about to say, but I don’t think so. When a man or woman is elected to the position of serving in the Senate or Congress do they not serve all the people in their district, whether they voted for them or not? If that is so why are many of them complaining about “plants” at these meetings? If they are people from their district, they are the Senator’s, or Congressman/woman’s constituents. That is at least the way I understand it. Unless, that is, they only represent those who voted for them.

If that is the case, then who are the “plants”?

Now, in saying what I have said, I will say this. It is rude, and unbecoming of true American [USA] citizens to do what I have seen many doing on the news reports. The beating of a man outside one meeting whom the people did not agree with. Cutting the representative off when he/she is trying to speak. Whether we disagree or not doesn’t give you or me the right to be rude. To me when we become rude, unwilling to listen to disagreement, and being disagreeable in our actions; it is because we are afraid the others may be right.

When you believe you are right you have nothing to fear. Listen to the opposing view. Voice your opinion and be passionate about it, but without rudeness, name calling, or bad language. When you listen you are learning.

Someone has said, “God gave us two ears and only one mouth. I suppose that means He meant for us to do twice as much listening as we do talking.” That is good advice to follow.

That is my opinion, and I’m sticking with it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

All Wise Savior

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” Jude 25 (NKJV).

In this closing statement by Jude he clearly declares the deity of the One we call Savior. “To God our Savior”. Anyone, person or religious organization who would deny the deity of Jesus Christ; or decrees deity to all who could or would achieve the “christ-spirit” or whatever they would call it; denies the very heart of Christ Jesus; therefore they do not know Him. They are in fact worshipping a different “Jesus”; a demon.

The Jesus whom Jude, Peter, James, John; and Matthew, Mark and Luke write of is Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, who is God made flesh, and “dwelt among us”. He alone is the One who died for the sins of the whole world, was buried in a dead human body; and rose victoriously over sin, death and hell in a glorified human body. If you don’t know the Jesus who died as the incarnate God, was buried as the incarnate God, and rose again as the bodily form of God, then you know not my Jesus.

Jude gives Jesus as the One “who alone is wise”. We can read the eighth and ninth chapters of Proverbs, and you see the Personification of wisdom, and that Person is none other than Jesus the Christ. Solomon is often given credit as being “the wisest man who ever lived”, but then, there is Jesus; the One who gave Him His wisdom. Jesus was wise to follow the guidance and direction of His heavenly Father. He desired to always do those things which pleased His Father, even to the death on the cross.

The glory of Jesus is in the fact that He did the Father’s will. We have all sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus came, as like sinful men, yet without sin, and Himself was the glory of God on earth. He fulfilled the task which the first Adam failed to fulfill. As followers of Jesus Christ, and by imputation – the reckoning of God – we fulfill the glory of God. When we see Jesus we will see Him in all His glory and majesty. A couple of things we have which are symbols of majesty on earth are the eagle in the sky, and the lion. These pale in comparison to the majesty of Jesus.

With Jesus is all power, and He rules in the hearts of rulers, and will ultimately have His way in this world. One day the Lord Jesus will return to this earth, will overthrow the kingdoms of this world, and its rulers, and He Himself will rule, and sin will no more have rule and dominion in the hearts and minds of men or women. These qualities which Jude ascribes to Jesus are given to Him also by the angels, and the saints in heaven according to Revelation 4:10, 11; 5:12-14.

Give glory to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father by believing in Jesus, and the work He has done on the cross, becoming sin for us, receiving the wrath of God that was ours, taking our sins away in His burial, then, rising victoriously over it all. Proving once and for all that He is all that He said He is. Proving that there is life after death, and that eternal life is found solely through the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

“To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

Israel, Iran, And The World

I have been silent; probably for too long; concerning the elections in Iran.  Though I don’t generally comment on events such as these, the real atrocity is against the people of Iran.  Like our country [USA] I am for freedom.  All people should be free to make their own decisions in politics, in religion, in life; and make informed and clear decisions.

One sign of an oppressive government is when that government decides to stop all means of communication.  Iran’s leading authority has tried to stop the out going communications to let the rest of the world know what is going on.  They have failed in that, and it seems that today – June 20, 2009 – will be the day the government “puts its  foot down”, and tries with its military might to silence a very angry, and large number of its citizens.

If they can hear these words today; Be strong, and turn your eyes toward the LORD of the earth, believe and trust in the Son of Jehovah Jesus Christ;  He is the Supreme One, and will lead you to genuine peace; and that is so for all the world.  The hope of Iran is not the Ayatolla Khameni or its government which is officially ran by the “strong arm” of Islam in Iran.  It is a repressive government which eventually will end in the destruction of its own country.

The current administration has said many times “Death to Israel.  Death to the United States.”  And his intent is to see the destruction of any who oppose him.

How does Israel view this situation in Iran.  Let me give you some quotes from the Jerusalem Post

“FOR ISRAEL, the election in Iran boils down to one major issue – the nuclear program, and the chances of its being stopped, whether Ahmadinejad or Mousavi end up taking the reins.

One school of thought in the defense establishment is that Ahmadinejad serves Israel’s short-term interests. With his open calls to destroy the Jewish state and his public denial of the Holocaust, he helps Israel make its diplomatic case against Iran.”

It sounds as though Israel would be for keeping Ahmadinejad. At least they would know what to expect. It seems that no one knows what to expect of Mousavi.  May all the Middle East know that those who come against Israel will fail, and their armies will be destroyed; not by Israel, nor by the United States, or any army of the world, but by the Supreme Ruler, the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe. Read Ezekiel 38 – 39 along with Genesis 12:1-3.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the world is in economic straights, and in need of help, but from where.  The only help for Israel, Iran, and the rest of the world can only be found in turning to the One who died for the sins of the world, and His name is Jesus the Christ; Son of the Living God.

Let us who are followers of Jesus Christ continue to pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” and for the people of the Middle East.  The hope of the world is Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Be Wise – Be Instructed

“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” Psalm 2:10-12 (KJV).

It is wise to be on the King’s side.  Whatever one’s place in this world; be we king, prime minister, senator; our place is to glorify our King, and that King is Jesus Christ.  When we are “nudging up” to the man of flesh, then Jesus is not the One who is being “kissed”. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” Psalm 111:10; and there is a lack in this great wisdom for our day.

Wisdom is a necessary attribute.  Godly wisdom is what we are concerned with in this text and context.  It is sad to think that there are many world rulers in our day who do not have godly wisdom, and are working against all things godly.  The rulers of our world are working against the Nation which God has ordained, and called out as a Nation in our days; to even remain a Nation.  They are not wise.  It is written in THE TREASURY OF DAVID by C. H. Spurgeon, “True wisdom, fit for kings and judges, lies in obeying Christ.” Vol. 1, p. 20.

A love for God with fear brings rejoicing, and causes us to serve and joy in His presence.  He is our hope, our cause for rejoicing. Serve Him with fear, ie., great awe, and reverence.

To “Kiss the Son” is to be in complete agreement with Him.  We acknowledge He is always right, and will never lead us astray.  Many will reject Him and refuse to kiss Him, unless it be as Judas who betrayed Him, and those who refuse will go into eternal judgment of fire.

Happy [Blessed] is the lot of those who put their trust in the blessed King of kings, Judge of judges, and Lord of lords.  Put all your trust in Him.  You are Blessed.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The King’s Rod

The last time in the Psalm 2 we looked at verse 8, and we see that God has promised as an inheritance, to His Son. the nations, and the uttermost parts of the earth are given Him as His possession.  It is His rightful possession, because in His death, He paid the sin debt of the whole world, but for the most part has been rejected.

In the Twenty third Psalm we find the phrase, “Thy rod, and thy staff they comfort me…” (Psalm 23:4b).  The use of that rod and staff sounds encouraging, and blessed, but the one we will look at here today, does not sound very pleasant at all.  This “rod, and… staff” is one instrument.  The shepherd’s staff, often seen with a crook on the upper end also had the rod on the other, and could be used for a walking stick over rough terrain, driving off wolves, bears, lions, and for correcting straying sheep.

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:9 (KJV).

Nations are ruled by the “prince of the  power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) on earth.  These nations have rejected Christ, hated Christ, and you can see from the beginning of the Psalm have sought to work against Him and defeat Him, but always to no avail.

This “rod of iron” is a means of judgment.  Judgment is in the hands of the Son –

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”  John 5:22 (KJV).

In this Psalm, it is clearly judgment that it is speaking of.  The Potter’s vessel’s are all baked brittle, and and iron rod would easily smash them to pieces.  The judgment will be just and righteous.  Jesus would judge no other type judgment.  This will be a judgment of the nations who have plotted and worked against the God of gods, the King of kings, and Lord of lords to have their own way in the world.  It is these nations which are out to destroy God’s  people, and develop their own kingdom, establish their own god; setting themselves up on the throne or royalty; and acknowledging no other.  They will be broken, shattered, smashed to pieces by the rod of God.

The rod which Moses carried became the “Rod of God” for the deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Exodus 4:20; 17:9).  It is only a foreshadowing of the deliverance Jesus Himself will do in delivering Israel from the clutches of evil nations as they seek to destroy Israel.  Those who have the discernment can see the nations lining up against Israel even now.  The judgment of these aligned nations will be swift, unexpected and sure.

You can experience the comforting staff of the Shepherd of the Twenty third Psalm rather than the iron rod.  That is by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over all your life.  Confess you have sinned against Him, repent of your sin, believe that He died on the cross, was buried and that He rose from the grave and now is seated at the Father’s right hand.

If you enjoy singing you should like the Psalms of the Bible.  The songs which several men penned, inspired by the Spirit of God, concerning their walk with the Lord, and they go so far, at times, of naming some of their sorrows, griefs, and even frustrations with God and other men.

Sing and make melody in your heart to the LORD; for He is coming soon to let the world know that He is Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Make It Clear

It is sad when we read God’s Word and He uses the heathen, godless nations to bring judgment on His sinning, disobedient people. I am certain that it saddens His heart especially so.

Because He is who He is, and because He is Righteous, Holy and Just He will not tolerate sin in the hearts of His people. He will judge it by ridding us of it through captivity, trials, tribulations, sickness, disease, and even persecution. In chapter eight of Isaiah we begin to see that God is even sending the message to the enemy of Israel/Judah that the time is drawing near for their invasion of the land.

“Moreover the LORD said unto me, Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.  And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.“ Isaiah 8:1-2 (KJV)

 

We begin to see the fulfillment of a near prophecy. That is the birth of Isaiah’s son “Speed to the spoil”, and to leave absolutely no doubt that they [the Assyrians] would be the victors the name “Hasten the booty”, ie., enjoy the bounty of the conquered land. The birth of Maher-shalal-hashbaz is the near fulfillment of Isaiah 7:15-17. Of course, the Immanuel who was to be born was Jesus Christ 700 years or so later.

The names of Isaiah’s sons was meaningful and useful for the message of prophecy and the fulfillment of God’s Word. One thing that we can be certain, and that is that God will fulfill His Word. Not one cross of a “t “or the dot of an “i” will fail (Matthew 5:18). Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” Matthew 24:35 (NKJV).

There are two witnesses named who support this prophecy of the prophet. They are most likely priests of the temple of God. They themselves would have been faithful and trusted priests of the Lord and trusted by the believing remnant of people. Their testimony was an accreditation of the Word of God spoken and written by Isaiah.

In the message to Isaiah the LORD says, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters…” It was to be large enough and clear enough that all could read it and understand. God speaks clearly through His Word concerning His direction, His will, His Word, and His correction upon His people.

Is terrorism to be the promise of God’s judgment upon a wicked nation as the United States turned away from God? Will the terrorists be the one’s who ‘Hasten to the spoil” of the United States? If we think seriously about it what has happened with the banking business, and financial markets, that is a form of terrorism; especially the thefts by scam artists; such as Bernie Madoff, and the bonuses paid from funds supplied by our tax monies. If we continue to turn a blind eye to the truth of God’s Word, we will continue on our slide down a very slippery slope to destruction. Let us pray for the renewing of hearts to Christ Jesus, and His soon return.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Enoch Prophesied

“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Jude 14-15 (NKJV).

As the verse above notes Enoch was the seventh from Adam, and that is according to the Biblical genealogy of Genesis 5, and 1 Chronicles 1:1-3. Of Enoch we are not told much. However, according to Jude, and the inspiration of the Spirit of God we know more than is given us in the rest of Scripture.

According to the account of Enoch in the Genesis account he was the son of Jared and the father of Methuselah. Something evidently happened in the life of Enoch which inspired him to become a prophet. He was sixty five years of age when Methuselah was born to him, and for three hundred years Enoch walked with God. According to Jude he was a prophet who preached the judgment of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

By the birth of Methuselah Enoch was revealed a coming judgment of God on the earth. The name “Methuselah” means “Judgment” and even, “When he is dead it shall be sent”. The preaching of Enoch was evidently not necessarily dealing with the coming flood judgment on the whole earth, because Jude mentions the “Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints…”, and that is surely a description of the second coming of Jesus Christ. That is how Jude takes it.

Enoch was warning of these apostates who were coming in. The ungodly, morally perverted, denying Christ, defiling the flesh, Rebellious, revilers of holy angels, filthy dreamers, ignorant, corrupted, grumblers, fault finders, self seeking, arrogant speakers, flatterers, mockers, cause of discord among brethren, worldly minded, and without the Spirit of God. These are the type of people Enoch warned about, and the coming judgment of Christ coming with His saints, including the angels of heaven.

We are being told by the culture of our day that to be exclusive with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not popular, and we will drive people away. Better to drive people away than to deceive, lie, and not give them the true message of Christ Jesus, and His cross. Yes, the cross may offend, but it is also the only means of salvation. The cross of Jesus Christ has always been an offense to the mind of the world. However, it is the glory of God.

Preach the cross. Preach Jesus Christ and His cross. Preach repentance. Repentance being the turning away from sin to Christ. Will that offend? Most likely. Is it the truth? Most definitely. Preach it to the death if need be. Thank God for those preachers of the gospel who put their lives, and the lives of their family on the line every day. God bless them each and every one.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Our Comfort; God With Us

The Lord had spoken to Isaiah and sent him to Ahaz the king of Judah with the message “Do not fear”. Yes I know it was a little longer and a bit more than that, but that is the basic message God sent to Ahaz.

The plotting of Ephraim would not stand, especially since they had made league with an enemy of God and His people. “Do not fear” is used; someone has said; 365 times throughout all of Scripture. That is one for each day of the year. One thing about Ahaz is that he is a proud king and we are about to see some of that pride in its worse form.

“Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 7:10-17 (KJV)

King Ahaz seems to have been trying to be pious in responding to the prophet’s message. Remember it is Isaiah who brought the message of the LORD to the king. The LORD said to the king, “Ask a sign of the LORD…”. It was the Lord who asked Ahaz to ask for a sign, yet the king wanted to have the self-righteous attitude, and a false faith, and refused the offer of the LORD. O, how often we have God’s Word before us and we hear it, then, turn around and neglect to perform the will of the Lord. The king could have asked for any sign, and due to his seeming arrogance, the sign goes a different way.

The LORD was asking to be tested. The king refused, therefore, it seems that the thing he feared was going to come to pass.

There is a two-fold message in Isaiah’s prophecy. It is to have a near fulfillment and a far off fulfillment. It is thought that the virgin would be the wife that Isaiah would marry, evidently the mother of Shearjashub has died. This young wife would have a son fulfilling the prophecy showing the king the power of God’s Word. Before this child would be old enough to know how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land of those the king dreaded would be empty/deserted.

In the end, the king of Assyria would overtake the land. It is not meant that Ahaz would see this event, but it did happen, and Jerusalem fell, and captives were carried away.

Verse 14 is also a prophecy of the Lord Jesus and His coming as the God-Man through the birth of the virgin mother Mary (Matthew 1:23). He is called Immanuel or “God with us”. It is the greatest thing in all the world to know Immanuel, that God is with us. Jesus is Immanuel; the fulfillment of the law and prophets.

It should be of great comfort to the Christian to know that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this promise, and that He is “God with us”, He will forever be with us, and we will one day forever be in His presence with Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Cause Worth Fighting For

1 Samuel 17:29

There are times we need to heed the wise advice of who ever coined the phrase “Choose your fights”, or maybe you have never heard the phrase before.  That is okay.  The advice is good to heed when it comes to family, friends and neighbors.  You might include in that the people you work with in case some don’t understand the neighbor part.

There are times we must fight when no one else will, and this case in David’s life is a great example.  His brother was willing to start a quarrel with David, but unwilling to face Goliath.

What is there that is worth fighting for; even if it could mean our death?

OUTLINE from 1 Samuel 17:29 –

I.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE IN FEAR (vv. 11, 24).
II.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THERE IS NO FEAR IN THE ENEMY CAMP (vv. 3-10).
III.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE ONE WITH NO FEAR IS CHARGED WITH PRIDE (v. 28).
IV.  THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE NAME OF GOD, AND HIS ARMY IS DEFIED (v. 10).

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE IN FEAR (vv. 11, 24).  I would imagine that all of us have been intimidated by some one or some thing at some time of other.  Intimidation is fear.  King Saul and his troops were in fear of this behemoth of a man, the soldier of the Philistines who challenged them to send out their best man, and end the battle.

Saul was a king who had allowed pride, and his own personal accomplishments to get between himself and God, and fear was a side product of this.  The Lord Jesus has said,

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 (KJV)

Saul seems to have been more concerned with losing the battle than that the name of God was defied.  Compare the heart of the king with young David, and you see quite the contrast.  David had the heart like what our Lord spoke, believing God would deliver;

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 (KJV)

The fear in the troops of God was evident for the young David who had a heart for God.

David was angry by the man who defied the armies of God; defying God.  When God’s people see people defying our God; it should cause us to rise up and confront the enemy of God.

Christian, let us maintain our right fellowship with God.  Let us always give Him the glory for any accomplishments.  Let us never fear the flesh of man, but always fear our God, knowing that it is He who raises up kings, and prime ministers,  presidents, and princes.  Christian, always walk in the fear of God and you will fear nothing else.  Paul the apostle has written by the Spirit of God,

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THERE IS NO FEAR IN THE ENEMY CAMP (vv. 3-10).  The words of Goliath continued haunting the host of Israel day after day after day, and no one is doing anything, except shaking in their sandals.  It is a good sign that the people of God are not living by the commandments of God and have fallen away from Him.

It is quite evident by Goliath’s challenge that the Philistines are not shaking in their sandals.  The giant is boastful, arrogant, confident that he can win against any “poor soldier” of Israel.  They have forgotten the power of one man who is right with God.

Saul’s sins are many, but there are two which bear remembering.  The first is his impatience in waiting for Samuel to come and offer sacrifice; so he offers it himself (1 Samuel 13).  The second sin is one of disobedience.  In chapter 15 the LORD sent Samuel to command Saul to destroy the Amalekites, and to leave none living; and to kill all the animals in their possession; to take nothing.  Saul saved many alive, saved some of the animals, and saved king Agag alive; in disobedience to God.  Some of today’s people might call Saul a “Real humanitarian”; however the issue was a commandment of God, he disobeyed, and the issue is obedience, godliness, and righteousness and Saul was none of them.

Due to the sin of Israel, the king and the troops they now live in fear.  Some fear with over coming faith in God can be a powerful thing.  When there is no faith in God, however, it [fear] is crippling.  Such was the case with Saul.  Now because of this there was no fear in the Philistine camp.

Could it be, that the reason there is no fear of God in the enemy camp today [2009] is due to the disobedience of many of God’s people?  The love, power, grace and mercy of God is not seen in our lives.

The cause for the Christian today is to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10), and stand upon the teachings, the death, burial, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the promise of His imminent return for His bride.  To be honest, forthright, just, faithful (first to God, and to one another), loving, generous, kind, having self-control, being filled with joy, peace, and patience (Galations 5:22-23).

When Christians are walking with God the world will respect us, and they will fear YHWH.

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE ONE WITH NO FEAR IS CHARGED WITH PRIDE (v. 28).  You could say that Eliab, David’s brother, was accusing him of “grandstanding”.  That sounds like many who have accused men of God in past generations of Christianity, and not so distant days of “grandstanding”.  It could be called, “Making a spectacle of one’s self”, or using an opportunity to call attention to one’s self as the answer to the problem at hand;  just for selfish cause.

David’s heart went immediately to God when he saw this treacherous event from the Philistines.  He saw a cause in this and he, though just a youth, was willing to give his life in God’s hands and go and conquer this mocker of God.  David did not say, “I think I can conquer this giant”,  he said,

“The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” (v. 37).

There is no question in the mind of David.  God will give him the victory, and he is going to give God the glory.

THERE IS A CAUSE WHEN THE NAME OF GOD, AND HIS ARMY IS DEFIED (v. 10).  This thought is tied very closely with the second thought.  When there is no fear in the heart of the enemy of God, and His people they will defy the name of God, and His people.

To defy is to belittle, mock, to make light of, to accuse of cowardice, or impotence in battle.  John Gill in his commentary wrote;

“1Sa 17:10 – And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day,…. Or “reproach” them; that is, should they not accept his challenge, and send down a man to fight with them, he should then upbraid them with cowardice; and now he disdained them, as if there was not a man among them that dared to encounter with him:

On verse 26 Gill writes;

“for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? there were two things which provoked David, and raised indignation in him against this man; the one was, the character of the person that reproached, a Philistine, an uncircumcised person, a profane man, that had no true religion in him, an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, and a stranger to the covenants of promise; and the other was the persons whom he reproached, the armies of the living God, of the King of kings, and Lord of lords; and which in effect was reproaching the Lord himself, and which David, filled with zeal for God, and for his people, could not bear; and the consideration of these things animated him to engage with him, not doubting of success.”

Back to the thought of fear.  It cripples, it keeps God’s people from the power which God has given us through the seal of the Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:13-14).  We begin to fear the shadows of life when we are not walking with God.  We fear physical assaults, we fear every turn of our lives, we fear that our friends are whispering about us behind our backs, plotting to ruin or hurt us in some way, we fear financial ruin, we even begin questioning our salvation, the love of God, and the love others have for us.

When we, like David, are walking in the Spirit, walking with God, then we fear nothing but God Himself.

When God and His army is defied, that should cause His people to rise up, and be brave, bold and beautiful in our Lord.  We are living in a day of darkness.  It is not the time for fear, but faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ.  Jesus’s words, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1) were words of assurance, peace and encouragement.  We must live, love, and fight in those words.  When others try to tear you down, the body of Christ down, your church down;  let us stand strong in God; in His Word, in and through the power of His Spirit.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Our Love For Jehovah

OUTLINE for Deuteronomy 5:6-21;

I.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).
II.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).
III.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).
IV.  LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15)

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (vv. 6-7).  God [YHWH or YaHWeH] is the One and only One who delivered Israel from Egypt.  Delivered from the house of bondage He calls His delivered people to trust only in Him.

To LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART is to love only Him.  When a man is  in love with a woman, he grows more in love with her with each passing day.  The same is true with knowing and loving God.  In the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy we are told, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart…” (v. 5); and in Matthew, Mark and Luke Jesus is quoted saying the same thing (Matthew 22:37;  Mark 12:30;  Luke 10:27).

When God speaks here He is not authorizing us to put Him at the top of the list of gods to worship.  His heart’s command is to worship Him alone, and there is no other.  Would a man tell his wife “As long as you have me at the top of the list, you may see all the other men you want”?  No man in his right mind, and with any moral character would say that.

The heart is the seat of who we are.  The heart of the one who worships God alone will have his/her heart filled with God.

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL (vv. 8-10).  Mankind is the only one of God’s creation which is made in His image and after His likeness.  We are told that when God had made Adam, “…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 (KJV).

When we LOVE GOD WITH ALL OUR SOUL we are loving Him from who we really are.  He breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and that is not said of any other creature of creation, but mankind.

When we worship and love gods of our own making we denigrate ourselves.  Even when we worship self through selfishness, atheism, agnosticism, or in science, technology, or any other means of self worth garbage; we do not lower God we lower ourselves.

It is certain, at least in my mind, that everything which God has made obeys the ordinances and laws of God set down for each of them with the exception of one; and that one is man.  The one made in His image has sinned, rebelled, and seeks other things as their god.  The worship of other gods is demon worship;

“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

Man is the only part of God’s creation of which God has said is made in His image and after His likeness. Remember, everytime you look at another human being you are looking at the image of God. Though this image is darkened by sin; there is light for thier soul. To murder the unborn in the womb is to murder the image of God. To curse another human being is to curse the image of God. To lie about another is to lie about the image of God.

The greatest, purest, and clearest Image of God was the One who walked on earth as God’s Son.  His name is Jesus.  He said, “If you have seen Me,  you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND (v. 11).  It is certain, at least to me, that many people of our society need a renewed mind. I know that Jesus also said that, “…From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…” (Matthew 12:34; Luke 6:45), but is it not the mind that gives the mouth the ability to speak. And, we do often “Speak our mind”. We say things like, “…I will give them a piece of my mind…”, and usually when we cannot afford to give them any.

God’s name is often used, even by professing Christians who use His name without thought. It has been said that the Hebrew scribes, when writing the Scriptures would change “pens” to write the name of God. It was so special that the name of God is not even clearly revealed in the original languages. In the Hebrew language all we know of the name God is YHWH. That name has been transliterated to Jehovah or YaHWeH. The best name we have for God is J-E-S-U-S. And, how often we hear His name used vainly.

The heart that is abundant with the things of God and Jesus His Son will speak from that abundance. An abundant heart will have a clear, thinking mind. The abundant heart will speak things which will glorify the Father and the whole God-head. When your heart and soul are filled with God, are you going to speak vainly of God? No way.

There are those who use God’s name in vain by cursing and swearing. What about those who speak God’s name, seemingly in a reverent manner on Sunday at church, but the rest of the week live like the world in the way they speak? It seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy. Not just a hypocritical act but the act of a Hypocrite.

There is nothing that turns off a someone away from God quicker than someone who professes Christianity on Sunday, but imbibes in the world the rest of the week. This is a taking of God’s name in vain as well. God help us to guard our minds, by always speaking reverently of God. “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9).

What about those who do all the churchy, traditional things, but overlook doing right toward their neighbor?

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” (Isaiah 29:13).

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9).

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Luke 6:46-48).

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH (vv. 12-15).  This is the fourth and final commandment having to do with our relationship with God. It is important to have this relationship. We are born into this world with that relationship in deadness. There is no spiritual heart for God. The law is pure evidence that this is so. There is no human being who has obeyed the law of God completely, except the Son of God Himself – Jesus Christ.

In the first place the Sabbath was initiated by God after the sixth day of creation when His work was finished.

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3).

In creation God established a work cycle for mankind. Contrary to some beliefs work is not a part of the curse. Laziness is a sin and is a part of the curse. God made it where every hard working person would have a day of rest and worship. It is still necessary to have a day to rest and to worship the Lord our God. It is a shame on our society in which people work seven days a week and never give God a thought. The only god some people worship is the “Greenback” which can do absolutely nothing for peace or joy.

For Israel it was a day for renewing their strength after six days of laboring, and for worshipping God. The Christian is not bound by this commandment. We find our strength and rest in Him. He is in fact our rest and strength. That does not mean that we are to forsake the day of worship. It does mean that our worship is to be everyday, and when we join with our brothers and sisters on Sundays to lift up the name of our Lord and Savior, and God.

The Christian and the Sabbath is shown us in Hebrews 4:1-11. There we are told,

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief…”.

Because Jesus fulfilled this and all the law by His complete and perfect obedience to God, His Father, we are privileged and honored to join together on the first day of the week to do so, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7). “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:5-6). The reason we worship on Sunday is because of the fulfillment and completion of the law in Christ Jesus and His resurrection on Sunday morning. The Christian’s rest is in Jesus Christ, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). Jesus said this before He died and was buried and rose again. That means it was so in the beginning as well.

Our strength is God’s.  He gives every breath we breath.  He gives every beat of our heart.  He gives us every step we take.  Our sole allegiance ought to be to Him and to Him alone.

Loving God We Love Our Neighbor

OUTLINE vv. 16-21

I.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).
II.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).
III.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).
IV.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).
V.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).
VI.  LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR BEGINS AT HOME (v. 16).  Without our mothers and fathers we would not be present in the world.  That should be a good thing for us.  It is a sad thing that many a child grows up never knowing their dad, and sometimes their mom.  One of the most dreadful things is that some of those who do grow up with both parents is the disrespect many have toward them.

Usually, when a child does not honor and respect their parents, they have less respect, if any respect, for law enforcement, and for any in places of authority; thus getting themselves into a multitude of troubles.  God intended children to have their parents.  Mom’s and Dad’s; you are not ordained by God to be a friend to your child; you are called, ordained to be a parent, giving them guidance, correction, love, care, providing for them as they are growing and learning.  Friendship with your son(s) or daughter(s) will come when they are grown, then, you will have a friendship which you will cherish.

This is the only commandment of the ten with a promise.  One reason for the Babylonian exile was Israel’s disrespect for parents;

“In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow”. (Ezekiel 22:7);

“Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee. And thou shalt take thine inheritance in thyself in the sight of the heathen, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 22:13-16).

Could it be that many of the problems of the society within the United States is much related to the disrespect of children toward parents, many authority figures, and God Himself?  That may have started with adults having a disrespect for human life.  Which would have began with a turning away from God.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS LOVING AND RESPECTING HUMAN LIFE (v. 17).  This sixth commandment is given to protect life, human life.  We are to cherish, and respect all human life.  The human baby in the womb of his/her mother, or even the embryo in the glass dish, or frozen in storage.  The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER Pocket Dictionary defines “embryo: a living being in the earliest stages of development–”,  and we have “Scientist” who want to cut up and destroy human embryoes for the purpose of “life saving” stem cell research.  These are not “Scientist”; they are butchers.

Let me get one thing straight.  This commandment is a commandment against cold-blooded murder.  Willful, pre-meditated, planned taking of a human life.  It is not commandment against protecting one’s own life.  It is not commandment against the execution of a murderer.  The execution of a murderer is surely the surest form of respect for human life.  Capital punishment of the murderer shows all that every human being is equal before God.  When we allow a convicted murderer to live; we count her/his life more precious than the one they killed.  When we put to death the one who killed maliciously; we  show not only respect for human life, but also show the respect that is due God’s commandments.

Here is some Scripture to reconcile the sixth commandment with capital punishment –

“And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’ brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:5-6).

“And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.” (EX. 21:15).

“And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed: If he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit: only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.” (EX. 21:18-19).

Then a New Testament passage,

” Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:1-7).

All human life is precious.  Our neighbor’s life and all in his/her household are precious in the sight of our Lord.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR MEANS CHERISHING THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE (v. 18).  This commandment, the seventh, is a decree of respect and honor for the marriage of every man and woman.  Marriage is not a right it is an institution of God.  It is decreed by God that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24), and this definitely means a man and a woman.

The First Institution God Ordained. This first institution is MARRIAGE. This blessed institution is falling by the wayside in our modern society. Our government penalizes married couples by charging them more  taxes in some cases. Elderly couples can receive more Social Security benefits by living together without marrying. This, in essence, is government, our government of the United States; rewarding immoral behavior.

Young couples are living together more and more without marriage. They want to “Test drive” the relationship, similar to test driving a car they want to purchase. This is a relationship not a piece of property. If you test drive a car and buy it there will come a day in a few years, at the most, where you will get rid of that car. If you “Test drive” that relationship, that is what most likely will happen to the relationship too. Why? Because there is need for commitment, and where there is no commitment, there is no power or permanance to the relationship. Either party in the relationship can leave at any time. It is with sadness that I must admit, there are many who enter marriage with this attitude as well. If you are not prepared to spend a lifetime with someone do not marry, but do not make a sham of marriage by living in rebellion to God’s law by cohabitating. There is little to no respect for the institution for marriage, and it seems due to the fact of no respect for God and that which is holy, righteous and good.

Marriage is more than, “Just a sheet of paper…”. It is in fact the bringing together of two – one man and one woman – before God and they two become “One flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). It is in fact a life-time commitment with binding vows that promise one another, and God, that whether “…rich or poor, in sickness or in health, loving no other, until death do we part.” That is more than a sheet of paper; it is a “binding contract” with God, and has serious repercussions if the bond is broken any way other than by death.

THERE IS FORGIVENESS (John 8:1-11). In the Bible the penalty for adultery is death. The Scripture given previously to the last sentence shows this was what was in the heart and mind of this woman’s accusers. Quick to pick up the stones of accusation, slow to mercy, slow to forgiveness. With this woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus gives her forgiveness.

Notice Jesus’s words, “…Go, and sin no more”. It was not just a blanket forgiveness without responsibility. She had been forgiven, and now her life would reflect the cleansing and forgiveness she had received. Muse on these questions for awhile. Where was the man who was caught in the act with her? What did Jesus write in the dirt on the ground? Why didn’t they throw the stones?

The only one who could have stoned her forgave her instead. THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR THE SIN OF ADULTERY. There is forgiveness for all sin, when you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR RESPECTS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP (v. 19).  For some reason there are many  who think society owes them something so they take what they want, when they want it, and often at great cost to someone else.  Some people who work in some business think they have a right to take a little something which belongs to their boss.  It could be “just a box of paper clips”, or only showing one’s self busy when the boss is watching.  It is theft.  It is stealing.

* Of the first seven commandments; death is the penalty for the violation.
* This eighth commandment does not call for the death penalty – it calls, rather for restitution (Ex. 22:1; Luke 19:5-10).
* There is one exception, that is if they “Kidnap” – steal a human being (Ex. 21:16). This called for the death penalty.

If we love God and one another we will not desire what another has, and take and steal. We will practice what Paul taught the Ephesians, rather, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Eph. 4:28). There will be no need for gambling, stealing from those who are more needy – doing it legally. When one loves their neighbor there is also a love for God and for being a faithful steward of God’s resources He has put in our trust. Also there will be the need to see that all debts are paid in full, especially the debt to our neighbors that could be the redemption of their souls.

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE BEAR WITNESS OF THE TRUTH (v. 20).  This commandment is a decree against lying against your neighbor.  Bearing false witness to condemn, to elevate one’s self, to unjustly bolster one’s self image over another, or to bring condemnation before a court.

The Truth is precious, and we should be truthful with our neighbors, with our families, and most of all with God.  When we love God and our neighbors the truth will be precious to us.

The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.

J. Vernon McGee writes,

“Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150).

That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.  Should we not consider that when we are guilty of that it is almost certain that it will not be long and they will come back to get us.

Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination.

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).

“A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)

“Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)

Now look in the New Testament,

“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)

LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR WE DESIRE THEM TO BE BLESSED (v. 21).  When we have real desire for others [our neighbors] to be blessed we will not have the audacity to desire, lust for, covet the property which belongs to them; or the persons which are in their love and care.

Though this commandment is the final of the ten, it could be the KEY COMMANDMENT.  Think about this; if we disobey this commandment we can very easily and are breaking every one of the other nine.

James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 (KJV). Get that, “Guilty of all”. Now that can be said of all the others too, but here, I hope you can see why it is important to realize that covetousness is a seed of evil, that breeds evil, and leads to the decay of the whole law in the hearts of people.

According to the book of Colossians it is Idolatry to covet. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5 (KJV). Even the book of Ephesians backs this up by saying, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). Note that Paul has written there, “Nor covetous man, who is an idolater…” O, the sad thing is there are many, many, too many people who live for the grasping and holding on of things, or people, or positions, or power; do I need to go on. I think you get the point.

The following verses are the words of Jesus:

”Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV).

Again Jesus says,

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt 6:31-34 (KJV).

Now if this is not a word for those who covet things and such, I am mistaken about the whole issue,

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:21 (KJV).

If your heart is on the things of the world, that is your treasure. However, if your heart is on the Lord and His righteousness and glory, that is your treasure. If you are going to covet; covet the godly things, that will glorify the Savior.

When our treasure is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, then we have these laws written in our hearts, and our desire is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  No one I know of wants any of these negative acts conducted against them.

-Tim A. Blankenship

They Know Not The Way…

The economy has been going flat now for several months, and some might even say for a few years it has been headed downward. Has anyone ever stopped to ask “Why?” The answer to that question of “Why has the economy went downward?” is not the President of the United States; it is not because we are in the midst of two battles of war. These have probably not been much help for us.

Let’s consider some insights from the prophet Jeremiah. It seems that the economy in this prophet’s day was doing well, people were comfortable, and they were very much involved in the culture of the day. They believed in God, and they believed in other things as well. Their comfort, and riches, had come between them and the LORD God and His direction for their lives. The prophet Jeremiah is called by God to go to a rebellious people, and warn them of approaching danger.

The warnings have been plenty from the first chapter. What does the prophecy of Jeremiah have to do with the United States of America? The people of Judah and Israel proclaimed themselves to be “God’s people”. The USA has professed by the mouths of many citizens of this nation, “We are also God’s people; we are a Christian nation.” If we will so loudly proclaim that we are a Christian nation, then we must see that being a nation of God we must also receive the chastisement of God when we go astray.

Jeremiah has written,

“O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God.” Jeremiah 5:3-4 (KJV)

With recent fires roaring, devouring homes, taking many man hours, and property; with the storms that have so often hit in various parts of this nation; doesn’t it seem in the least that our merciful, loving and gracious God could be warning us to awake, believe and change our lives.

The LORD’s eyes are upon the truth. The poorest of the poor are those people who may have everything materially yet have not the faith of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. Own the world without the grace of God, in the faith of Christ and you have nothing of eternal value. You basically have nothing of God-value. You can know the stockmarket inside and out; you could know the Encyclopaedia Britannica by memory; and you could know the Bible word for word; not knowing God, you would still be poor, and without knowledge of God or His way

Why are these things happening and to both Christian and non-christian? Only God knows the real answer to that, but I think we must consider the possibility that God’s people, the Christians have not been the citizens of the USA for Christ that we should have been. Professing Christian people are growing more ignorant about the ways of God; or are wanting to be more “Politically correct”, and “Culturally relevant”. It is time for the Christian to be Biblically correct and heavenly relevant.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Appointed King or President???

Recently I have read emails, comments on blogs, and heard some asking the question or making comment as to whether God’s will was done in the past election of President Elect Barrack Obama.  In my mind and thinking I have seen how the election turned out, but was not surprised.

No!  The candidate I voted for was not elected.  I was disappointed and could have been, and still could be quite fearful of what lays ahead for the United States of America; the home of the free, and land of the brave.  I have known and believed for years in the sovereignty of God, and have seen God at work in the hearts and lives of others and in myself.  I have learned that no matter what man does the will of God is not thwarted; His will is done whether we go our own way, or choose His way.

Others who are concerned with our “free will” can believe that we overthrow God’s will.  That is frivolous thought.  How can a created being, such as we are, overthrow the will of the All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Present, and Immutable God?  The “free will” of humanity does in fact work with the sovereignty of God, God is glorified, and His will is done.  I cannot explain that any clearer, but that is what I learn through the reading of Scripture.

If we are fearful that God’s will was not done in the election of Barrack Obama as our President, then, we are in fact not trusting the sovereign hand of our God.  I do not know what lays ahead for our country, but I do know that whatever it is is in the hands or our Almighty God.

In this past election there were three or more ballot initiatives which went for moral thought.  Proposition 8 in the State of California passed in favor of marriage between a man and woman alone.  The initiative in Arkansas passed which only allows married couples – man to woman, woman to man – to adopt children or be foster parents.  Those were good moral decisions the people made in those States.  They may still be up for standing before  the courts.  We can only continue to pray for God to intervene, and that He be glorified through it all.

God has been merciful to us for the past eight years and longer.  We may now be in for a period of judgment, but let us not lose  heart, and fear that “God’s will was not done”.  As Christians we must believe God’s Word when He tells us;

“And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding…”  Daniel 2:21 (KJV)

Since Barrack Obama is set to be our President, then we need to pray for him, his family, his decisions concerning cabinet members, and his time as President of our nation.  Christian we are obligated by God to respect the man as our leader, to pray for him, and obey him.

Paul the apostle has written;

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” Romans 13:1-6 (KJV)

The “higher powers” of which Paul mentions are rulers of nations, and governments of States, cities, etc..  It seems to me that our God has placed every ruler who has ever lived, and who is living today in their place.  Was the will of God done with Hitler in power in his day?  Whether we like it or not; or whether we understand it or not we must say YES!  The rise and fall of kings and nations is in the  hand of God, and as Paul writes, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”

You may disagee with this assessment, but it seems to me that the argument is not with me, but God.  Talk to Him about it.

When we reach the place where we trust these matters to His hands, then, we as Christians can have peace, stop complaining, belittling the man who will be our next national leader, and then effectively pray for him.

I am actually excited about what lays ahead.  It is after all in the hands of our Lord.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Moral Providence

The Lord willing this will be my final quotation from the Peter Marshall/David Manuel books. I pray you have found them inspiring, and uplifting as well as helping inspire a patriotic heart for God and our nation.

“The biggest difference between the self-styled prophets of the New Israel and those of the original chosen people was that the Old Testament prophets invariably included an if: If God’s people repent, humble themselves, and obey Him, then will He forgive them and bless their land. But if they do not obey His commandments, then will His judgment come upon them. Very few nineteenth-century visionaries speaking of America’s Manifest Destiny mentioned the negative alternative. Lyman Beecher, however, was one:’

‘If this nation is, in the providence of God, destined to lead the way in the moral and political emancipation of the world, it is time she understood her high calling, and were harnessed for the work. For mighty causes, like floods and distant mountains, are rushing with accumulating power to their consummation of good or evil, and soon our character and destiny will be stereotyped forever.” From “FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA” p. 371 paperback

There is great need for this realization today. If, it is not too late to turn around.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A False Count

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Matthew 13:31-33 (KJV).

Remembering the parable of the wheat and the tares will give us a better understanding of these two. The enemy came in under the cover of darkness, while men slept, and planted the tares among the seeds of wheat. When the wheat began to grow, there to be seen by all who could identify it, was the tares. The landowner said, “Let them grow along with the wheat, or you will uproot the wheat also.” The sower is the Son of man, the seeds which He sowed were the children of His kingdom, the tares are the children of the enemy who is Satan. The children of the devil are planted in the kingdom to endeavor to supplant the children of the kingdom, and overrule the kingdom of God.

The “grain of mustard seed” is said to be the smallest of seeds, and yet, it only grows into a normal size of about 6 – 8 feet in height. Jesus uses the mustard seed as a comparison to faith in Matthew 17:20; “…If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, ‘Remove from here to yonder place;’ and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Trees of great stature and structure are used to show political power through earthly kingdoms in Scripture. For example in Ezekiel 17:23, it is written, “In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing: in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.” This, of course speaking of the kingdom of Israel under the rule of Messiah. The kingdom and reign which all Christians look for, with great expectations. Note the tree which speaks of the power of Assyria and its world influence; “Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations.” Ezekiel 31:5-6 (KJV). The tree of Israel is like a cedar tree. The tree of Assyria has no like.

Nebuchadnezzar is likened unto a tree cut down. Before he is cut down this is how Daniel describes him, “The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.” Daniel 4:12 (KJV). John the apostle writes in the Revelation of Babylon, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Revelation 18:2 (KJV).

According to Strongs, “G1186 δένδρον, dendron; den’-dron. Probably from δρύς drus (an oak); a tree: – tree”. According to Jesus, “…when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree…” The word “Tree” in this verse is for the Oak, and is no way what is expected of the mustard seed. One thing that can be seen in this is that this “Tree” is representative of political power. It welcomes every kind of animal under its bushes, because of its great size. It seems to indicate an irregular growth, an untimely growth, illigitimate growth, and an ungodly growth.

These two parables if you will notice are placed between the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the explanation of the wheat and the tares. This was intentional so that we might see His intent of the two parables. He is warning us of the deception of the enemy. We all like to see growth in our churches. Hopefully we mean by growth – people being called to Christ through faith in the shed blood of Jesus’s death, His burial, and resurrection. Too many times churches have crowds, members, and numbers, but no salvations. “But Oh, we had a great crowd. There was excitement in the air.” something along this line said, and everybody is feeling great; but is Jesus truly praised, worshipped, and glorified?

Many will read this and think, “This is sure a different way of looking at this than I have ever heard”. If so, I think that is a good thing. I know the other view or interpretation of it. That being, that the growth of this tree is representative of the growth of Christianity, and the numbers of people who are Christians in the world, being a good and positive thing. If that is so, however, then, it gets us away from the other two parables which have preceded these two. Jesus has just given us two points to consider in the other two; One, that the word of God is not received, and continued in all who hear the message; Two, that there is an enemy who has planted his tares [children] in the kingdom of heaven causing much dissension and division and ungodliness. This is the third thing, and it has to do with how the enemy influences the church within the kingdom of heaven.

The growth of the mustard seed would normally be to become the bush of an herb. It, however, becomes like an “Oak tree”. It represents popularity, power, prestige; and for many years Christianity has fit into that realm. When people begin to see that influence of power, popularity, and prestige sinking or falling away the people who are not genuine in their faith will also begin falling away. However, until that time comes the birds of the air and beasts of the field will continue to come and get under the umbrella of its shade, and nests in its branches. Too many times people are in love with Christianity, but not Christ.

How is it that the power, popularity, and prestige of Christianity has increased in past years. It partly has to do with politics. The woman, or religion (Christianity in this case) riding on the back of the beast, or democracy. The true child of the kingdom; the true Christian; is not in love with Christianity, but with Jesus Christ Himself. The power of Christianity in past years has been its numbers, the votes at the election booth. Every Christian has the responsibility in a free country to vote, and vote our convictions, not parties or politics, but our God given, Biblical and moral convictions. Another thing is when we are having popular singers, strong men, and show men perform acts of entertainment, for the crowds and for profit. There may be a message of the gospel presented, and due to emotional excitement, encouragement or a nudge from a friend, some go thinking, “This thing called Christianity is really exciting. I think I want into this thing.” Then, they find out afterward, that there are problems, tribulations, trials, and maybe they find something a little more exciting. What happened to their “faith”. They had never been told the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. They trusted in a moment and not a Lord and Savior.

In the Christianity of today, we see many leaders of it calling for less rhetoric against the Muslim religion, and all false religions. It is okay to speak against “radical Islam”, but let us not put the whole group in that category. Some are even saying, “Let’s try to get along with the Muslim, and find common ground.” The only common ground we have with Islam is that we are part of the human race. The only thing we have in common with them is that apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ we are all condemned to hell. The only thing we have in common with them is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world; yours, mine, and ours. There is far too much compromising on the part of Christianity (the religion), going along to get along. This is not the day for compromise. We are in the greatest spiritual conflict since the cross of Jesus Christ. It is time to speak the truth, and to speak the truth boldly, courageously, without malice, without personal offense as is possible, and with love.

The devil likes nothing better than for the church and the kingdom to have an unholy, ungodly, supernatural growth. We are accepting people into congregations that call themselves Christian, but they have had no personal experience with Jesus. They are still in their sins, unforgiven, unredeemed. They have not been regenerated by the power of the Spirit of God, they have not been justified, there is no sanctification, and until they have these things they certainly will not be glorified in the presence of Jesus. There are some in the local church who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, they do not love the Word of God, they are more concerned with the children’s activity than their time with God, and are teaching children, or not, “…because there is no one else willing to do it”, and what a shame. It would be better to have no class for children, than to have an unbeliever leading them into God knows what. In one church I know, they had a woman teaching children – all ages – who would spend 5 maybe 10 minutes of an hour with a flannel chart, telling a story of Jesus, then the rest of the hour they got to go play outdoors. These children had no respect for discipline. They pretty much did as they pleased under her “care”.

Now is not the time to be adding numbers without their conversions. “It is time for Thee, LORD, to work; for they have made void Thy law.” (Psalm 119:126). If there was ever a day the church needed to be pure, and shine forth the light of Jesus Christ, it is today. Let us not be so much trying to win souls, but like Jesus commanded us, “Go and teach all nations… Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” that is the making of disciples. Tell them of Jesus, His death on the cross, His burial carrying our sins away, and His resurrection; and the promises of His return. The teaching and making of disciples would include the Sermon on the Mount, His sending of His disciples to preach the gospel, the Olivet Discourse, and all things that He has commanded us. It would also include the teachings of the apostles, and the epistles of the Bible. But, then, when a pastor will preach the Word and the pure gospel of Christ; that does not bring in the crowds. I recently heard a preacher say, “If a preacher will preach the Word people will come”, which sounds much like, “If you build it they will come”. It sounds good and much like Hollywood, but it is not the truth. If a preacher will love the people, and preach to them smooth, encouraging, entertaining, comforting, messages, then, they will come. If the pastor “loves the people” he can preach just about anything that tickles their fancy, and they will come. Who is going to come to church services when all you have is a preacher who expounds the Scriptures, revealing the wickedness of men’s hearts, and the power of the cross of Jesus, and the power of the resurrection? Most times, only the faithful, who love God, His word and their pastor.

There have been a few times I compromised on some principles of my beliefs, but every time I have done so I ended up regretting it. It seems like each time that I have compromised on a Biblical principle, or belief, and I regretted it, that I always became stronger in that principle and/or belief. Should a pastor love God and His Word more than he does the people God has given him to lead, or should he love the people and neglect the Scriptures? How can you love the people if you have no love for the Scriptures? Teaching them the truth, the power of the Word, and of the personal God who is Jesus is the greatest love we can give the people. We should never compromise Scriptures or preaching the Word to gain popularity, or power, or prestige; or for any other reason. That is what the devil will have us do.

The Psalmist wrote in the song, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Psalm 127:1). Rather than relying on “fire under the altar” (1 Kings 18:23, 25) why can the church not depend on the fire of God? Rather than depending on the fires of men, where is the fire of God? We have left it at the altars, unrepaired, and undesired. We depend too much on the methods of the flesh. Then we have our own converts, but none to Christ. We have numbers, but no one fit for heaven. May God forgive us, and may we get on our knees, rebuild our altars and seek the power and the face of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Wine is a Mocker…

Wine is a Mocker…

“Let’s go and have a drink”, says one friend to another, as they are departing from their workplace. Most times, in the like scenario, of course, this term “drink” is used in reference to the alcoholic version of various drinks. When we live in a world where there are thousands of people killed on our highways each year due to too much alcoholic drinking, the damage it does to families, the work place, medical care, and individual lives why is it even tolerated by civil countries and the laws of our land?

It is not just tolerated, but it is indulged in, and made to appear glamorous, by even those who don’t drink the brews, and wines. How can a alcoholic drink be indulged in by those who don’t drink? When it is not spoken out against. When it is laughed at. When it is seen as a means to the ending of our miseries, or laughingly referred to as medicinal.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 (KJV)

It is sad to admit, there are however, many people, even professing Christians who have been deceived by the venom of alcohol. Those who refuse to speak against the evils of alcoholic drink, and the debauchery, and vile living that comes from the lives of the people who are ruled by the beverage of choice for many “law abiding” adults. There is an element of Christianity even defending the “right to drink”, and that “The Bible says nothing against drinking of alcoholic beverage”. NO! There is no direct commandment to avoid alcoholic beverage in the Bible, but to use that as a right to do so is foolish thinking.

There are several things not named in the Bible that should definitely be avoided by Christians, and pastors and preachers should be speaking against. For example; there is pornography – the vile and evil use of the bodies of others to make pictures and films of people in the acts of things that should be kept in private. There is also the act of abortion – the murderous act of killing the innocent human baby before they are ever born. There is slavery, are we going to advocate slavery because the Bible tells us how to treat those who are enslaved to us? I would hope not. Someone will probably start crying out, “That is straw men,” so be it, it is based on principles of Scripture. Are you going to burn them, because they wreak havoc on your excuses for alcoholic drink?

Let’s look at the verse of this topic. Proverbs 20:1 warns us clearly of wine being a mocker. Strong’s gives us the meaning of the word mocker in Hebrew to be;

  • H3887 – lûts loots A primitive root; properly to make mouths at, that is, to scoff; hence (from the effort to pronounce a foreign language) to interpret, or (generally) intercede: – ambassador, have in derision, interpreter, make a mock, mocker, scorn (-er, -ful), teacher”. In looking at this meaning it would seem to me that alcoholic wine, [that is the meaning of the word “wine” in this verse]; makes a mockery out of whatever it touches.
  • “Wine” – “H3196: yayin yah’-yin From an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication intoxication: – banqueting, wine, wine [-bibber].If one is not a fool when one drinks the beverage, they will soon be one, especially should they allow the beverage to take control. The wisest choice is to refuse to drink something, or use anything that could take over your mind and body. When you do not touch and drink the beverage alcohol you can never become drunk.Mockery is the act of treating with contempt or ridicule; to defy; to delude; to mimic in sport or derision. Isn’t there enough problems within Christianity today without adding one more item to our shamefulness.

    The verse above also tells us that “Strong drink is raging”.

     

    • “Strong drink” = “H7941

    • shêkâr; shay-kawr’; From H7937; an intoxicant, that is, intensely alcoholic liquor: – strong drink, + drunkard, strong wine.”
    • H7937 – shâkar; shaw-kar’; A primitive root; to become tipsy; in a qualified sense, to satiate with a stimulating drink or (figuratively) influence. (Superlative of H8248.): – (be filled with) drink (abundantly), (be, make) drunk (-en), be merry. [Superlative of H8248.]The purposeful making and distribution of strong alcohol for the very purpose of drunkenness. When people are under the influence of beverage alcohol they are not in control. Men and women under the influence will say and do things they would not normally say or do. Otherwise “good men” or “good women” can be turned into violent, immoral, raging, animalistic creatures they would not otherwise be. It is no wonder that wine is a mocker… 

        • “Raging” = “H1993

          hâmâh; haw-maw’; A primitive root (compare H1949); to make a loud sound (like English “hum”); by implication to be in great commotion or tumult, to rage, war, moan, clamor: – clamorous, concourse, cry aloud, be disquieted, loud, mourn, be moved, make a noise, rage, roar, sound, be troubled, make in tumult, tumultuous, be in an uproar.

        Since the book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom it seems that these two items, “Wine” and “Strong drink” cannot be associated with wisdom. How can one be wise in even taking a drink of something that might cause drunkenness which is directly forbidden by Scripture? Someone has brought the issue of sexual relations between a husband and a wife into the argument of beverage alcohol. The statement going something like this, “God gave the sexual union between a husband and wife for both pro-creation, and pleasure. If one enjoys sexual relations too much does that mean it is evil?” Asking the question, at least in the way I phrase it seems almost ludicrous, and to compare the two is ludicrous. We have been commanded to pro-create, and to enjoy our spouses, but there is no commandment to enjoy wine. Some even go to Jesus’s turning “water into wine” of John chapter two; His very first miracle; and argue that if Jesus turned water into wine, then it must be okay. I am not going to discuss that right now, however I will add this; if the wine is a mocker according to Old Testament Scripture, and it is wrong to “Look on the wine when it moveth itself aright in the cup…” (Proverbs 23:31), then, how could Jesus violate Scripture by making alcoholic beverage? A violation of His own Word is what He would be doing. He does not violate His Word.Surely in an age of undisciplined behavior in children, youth and adults we as Christians need to say, and cry boldly that beverage alcohol is evil, and there is no place for it in the lives of Christian people. One more thought before I close. Why is it when a man or woman who has been an alcoholic and a drunk, when they receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will turn away from and put away all alcoholic beverages? Yet, so called Christian leaders argue for moderation. Where is the leadership in that? Surely “Wine is a mocker” and is mocking Christianity right now; and “Strong drink is raging”; and those influenced by it are fighting against all that is good and godly, and espousing evil, as it is allowed into the homes of the deceived.

        It seems that the devil is surely laughing at the moderation of the moderates who argue for freedom of beverages. May God help us to believe the Word of the LORD, and shun all that is evil and that wreaks evil in the lives of our leaders, and the people.

        -Tim A. Blankenship

        Jealous for Jerusalem

        JEALOUS FOR JERUSALEM

        “And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.” Zechariah 1:13-17 (KJV)

        While there are numerous people who are telling us that the days of Israel, the days of Jerusalem being blessed by God are over; the Word of God declares their greatest days are just ahead. How close that may be we do not know. We do believe they are approaching quickly.

        With a little consideration I have come to the conclusion that verse 12 belongs with these five verses. “Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which Thou hast had indignation these three score and ten years.” In every case where the phrase where “angel of the LORD” is used in Old Testament Scriptures it is a reference to a Christophany, or pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. We will look at this a little more in depth in the commentary following.

        Providing that “angel of the LORD” is indeed a Christophany it would fit into the description of the ministry of Jesus Christ following His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. In verse 12 of our text He is pleading with the Father for mercy upon Jerusalem, and the other cities of Judah. Certainly this is fitting with the intercession which we are told of in Hebrews 7:25 – “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” The “three score and ten years” were the years of judgment that they had spent in captivity in Babylon and the land was left desolate. He is our advocate with the Father as I wrote of earlier.

        The LORD of hosts who happens to be the Father spoke with “good words” unto the Son, and they were also “comfortable words”. The intercession of the Son always persuades the Father, and He promises good for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. Just what did the LORD of hosts say? We are told that in verses 14 – 17. It should be noted that even in the Old Testament the people of God – Jerusalem and the cities – had an advocate with the Father; who plead for mercy for them. It also should be noted that we get our message through the Lord Jesus. Apart from the cross of Jesus we have no message.

        The LORD of hosts has said, “I am jealous for Jerusalem and Zion…”. That explains the reason for the seventy years previously mentioned. When His people forsake Him He will set about to judge their departure, their hypocrisies, their sins. He always judges with the full intent of bringing them back into His grace and fellowship. We are also told that He is “displeased” with the ease of the pagan heathen who have conquered, devoured and taken into captivity His people. He was displeased with the behavior of Judah, Jerusalem, and the cities. Do you not suppose that though we have the names of the cities named He is referring to the occupants of those cities? Cities are made up of people. When Abraham was asking mercy for the “cities of the plain” (Genesis 13:12; 18:23-33), was he not pleading for mercy for the people; especially of Lot? I believe that to be so. The Lord does acknowledge that the heathen who are at the east were His aid for the affliction of His people.

        God always desires His people to be at peace with Him, and as long as we are He protects us, keeps us, holds us, even will keep us healthy; but when we turn from Him and begin worshipping other things; those walls of protection, provision, and power come tumbling down. When those walls are down the enemy comes in, devours and captures us, and for God this is as an affliction to lure us into returning to Him. There are times, as well when God Himself will allow His people to be tested, as in the case of Job, in order to strengthen our faith, and in the end He will bless us. Am I saying what some of Job’s friends said concerning Job. They accused him of being unrighteous, therefore he was being judged by God, and all he had to do was repent. My summation of this kind of situation is the one who is going through these trials will know. They will know whether this is judgment for a sin or sins they have committed or if it is a trial from God. The latter one may not be realized until the trial is over, and maybe not until eternity with Jesus. None of us have the right, nor the authority to tell another individual Christian, “What you are experiencing is the judgment of God for sin in your life”, especially if we do not know of any sin in their life that may be the cause of the judgment. When we have known a fellow Christian’s life; when we have seen them live faithfully for the Lord, and they begin to experience hardships, sicknesses, financial ruin and collapse our summation of the matter should be that this is a test of God, and we should let them know that we will be there to help them in any way we possibly can; and that we will be praying for them. We do need to remember that as with the people of Judah so with Christians of today; God will do whatever it takes to make us holy.

        God says, “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem”. Jerusalem is the city of God. It is the place where mercy and grace has been displayed to the world, by the death of God’s own Son, for our sins. The MacArthur Study Bible note for verses 16 and 17 state, “Not only would the temple be rebuilt which at that time had only foundations (cf. Hag. 2:18), but the city itself would again expand due to the prosperity (cf.Is.40:9,10). The wall was completed 75 years later. God would again comfort Jerusalem (cf.Is.40:1,2; 51:3, 12), and would again choose it as the place of His earthly throne (cf. Ps. 132:13). This will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom of Messiah (cf. Rev. 20). Given the fact tht the returning Jews lost sight of their priorities (cf. Hag. 1:1-12), this message reaffirmed God’s plan. It should be noted that the millennial kingdom will provide the presence of God in Jerusalem (Ezek. 48:35), a glorious temple (Ezek.40-48), a rebuilt Jerusalem (Jer. 31:38-40), the nations punished (Matt. 25:31-46), the prosperity of Judah’s cities (Is. 60:4-9) the blessedness of the people (Zech. 9:17), and the comfort of Zion (Is.14:1).” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE, NKJV, p.1340.

        According to Scripture it is apparent that God will not fail in His promises and dealings with His Old Testament people. He will bring them to Christ Jesus their Messiah. “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins'” Romans 11:25-27 (NKJV).

        -Tim A. Blankenship

        Jesus and Politics

        There is a whole lot of politics going on. You know the idea, and ask the question, “How do you know a politician is lying?” The answer is… I will let you know a little later. That almost sounds like a good answer. That is not it, however.

        How should Christians who are ‘followers of Jesus Christ’ be involved in politics, or should they be? Jesus said, “Render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”. It seems you could get a clear and distinct answer of being involved from that statement, “Render to Caesar…” When we are citizens of a Nation which has a democratic process of elections, then, we should participate in those elections and let our vote and voice be heard.

        Should Christians try to get moral legislation for that Nation? That may be a little stickier. As Christians we understand that morality, nor legislation is going to change a nation. A nation changes as the hearts of the people are changed. That works in the positive and the negative. If the life changing message of the Gospel of Jesus is received by the populace, then there will be a positive change of hearts. If, on the other hand, society begins to turn more and more away from God, His Word, equal justice for all, giving of their resources to others in need, and morality, then there is the negative change and evil will increase. The streets will be filled with crimes such as street shootings, school shootings, robberies – banks, convenience stores, jewelry stores, churches, etc. Husbands killing wives, wives killing husbands, parents killing children, children killing parents, co-habitations, and all kinds of immoral sexual behavior.

        Christians must have a voice, and that voice is in their church buildings and in the voting booth, and in the public forum. Christian, you have the right to vote: Use it or lose it.

        I was behind a car from New Hampshire on the afternoon of Friday October 27, 2006 in Cassville, Missouri. I noticed something about that plate and the motto on the plate. It read, “LIVE FREE, OR DIE”. I thought when I saw it, “Now who ever came up with that one had a bold thought”. As long as you and I have the freedom to vote we have a say in the way things are run in our country.

        If we get to trusting in the political process to save our Nation we are doomed. In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ it speaks of a woman riding a beast. That woman represents religion, and the beast is – I believe – democratic government. I must say, has not religion in recent years been riding the beast of democracy? What follows is not pretty.

        The Gospel of Jesus will change hearts and lives. No political process can do that. Legislate as you will.

        Now to answer the question at the beginning. Their mouth is moving. But, you probably already knew that.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        Like The Animals???

        Like the Animals???

        It is so very sad to look around at society and see things going to the dogs. With a man being sentenced to prison time for killing dogs, even though, he was unjustly and illegally fighting them is a sign of worse things to come.

        We are human beings created in the image of God. We have been given, by God, the rule and dominion of this earth. The man I speak of may have deserved a fine, maybe some loss of time from playing on the team he was on, and maybe even a fine from the NFL for the bad name against them.

        It is so unhuman to give greater power and authority to the animal kingdom than to the human being. It is when we begin acting like animals that we begin treating humanity more like animals.

        Hear the word of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

        “How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals?’ Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done–a restless young camel running here and there, a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her. Keep your feet from going undshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’ Jeremiah 2:23-25 (ESV).

        Many reading this will probably think, “Well how is this relative or practical for our society today?” I personally think that is an easy answer. When we have parents wanting to do things to protect their daughters from sexually immoral living by having them take a shot to protect them from a form of cancer that can be gotten only by pre-marital sex at too young of an age, then we are telling our children, “Your urges are uncontrollable, just follow your ‘heart'”. In other words your sexual drive is stronger than your mind and will. Just go with how you feel and this vaccine will protect you. People we are more than animals. We have a will. We can make moral choices. Animals do not.

        This was the problem with the people in Jeremiah’s day. They were giving themselves to Baal worship and this involved all sorts of immoral conduct. Then, they would say on the Sabbath day as they pretended to worship the Lord GOD, “We have not gone after the Baals”.

        I do not mean to sound brash in what I am about to write here, but there are many of our young ladies and young men who go around acting like animals in heat. This is not pleasing to our Lord. Even sadder to say is that many of these doing this profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

        What is the answer for our society today? We need to quit giving our young people the okay for sexual immorality. When birth control pills are given them, and a vaccine is provided to them to protect them from pregnancy and disease; we are in fact giving our okay to them. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s teach them the law of God’s Word. Let’s teach them by our own personal examples. The youth of America appreciate honesty, straight forward truth, and they will respect you for it. They will not respect “Hemming and Hawing around” about matters to get to the point.  As the people of God we who are adult Christians need to practice what we preach and teach. We should always be seeking the Lord to lead in our lives, and to give us the mind of Christ.

        There is a lot of loose living in society. We as Christians should live a tight knit life in Christ, love our spouses, and be always faithful, and worship God and God alone through His Son Jesus Christ.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        God’s Horses and Chariots of Salvation

        God’s Horses, and Chariots of Salvation

        In these following verses we see pictures of the LORD riding in chariots pulled by horses. He has, of course, won many and mighty victories for the people of His name. The prophet Habakkuk is reminded and reminding those who read and/or sing this song of the greatness of our LORD.

        Hear the Word of the LORD through the prophet:

        “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.” Habakkuk 3:8-15 (KJV)

        We are reminded of God’s power over the waters of the earth. “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers?” and “Was Your wrath against the sea”; remind us of the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River by God’s stopping the waters upstream so they could cross on dry ground, and previously to this; the Red Sea, by God’s dividing the sea and them walking across on dry ground.

        Of course, we know that God has no need of horses and chariots, but this is the picture of God’s power and victory over the enemy, as He freed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and promise of future deliverance from the captivity to come.

        Let’s look at the word “Selah” for a moment. The meaning is not quite certain. I have found it quite meaningful to see it as the means or call for reflection upon what I have read. To go back and read it again. To meditate upon it, and reflect on the greatness of the LORD whenever this word is used. The Psalmist uses it quite often, and it may mean to go back and repeat the words. That is at least how I like to think about it. The word “Selah” is used three times in Habakkuk’s third song. Twice in the above passage alone.

        The arrow God shoots from His bow is always on target. He hits what He aims at. It may not always be a “Bull’s-eye”. “Bull’s-eye” being what we think is the target. In other words it is not always what we think, but God hits what He aims for. His Word is always on target, never out of date, and pertinent in every point.

        The waters of the earth are all at God’s beckoning and call. When He called for a flood upon the earth – there was a flood. When He called for a drought upon the Northern kingdom of Israel under the rule of Ahab, there was a drought for 3.5 years. When He commanded the Red Sea to part; it parted. When He called for the Jordan River to stop flowing; it stopped flowing. All the waters are at His command, and none can control these things but Him.

        We are reminded in verse 11 of the power of God over the sun and moon. In the book of Joshua 10:12-14 we see God causing the sun to stand still for a whole day; and one other time several years later the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz went backwards 10 degrees to give king Hezekiah a sign that his life had been extended 15 years (2 Kings 20:8-11; Isaiah 38:4-8). Truly God is God of gods, King of kings, Lord of lords, and there really can be no other. There is none like Him. Praise the name of the LORD.

        The LORD is a victorious GOD. He loves His people, protects them, sets them in the right paths, and corrects them when they go astray. He will always have a remnant of people. There have been times when He has used other nations to correct His people, and those people God uses think they serve themselves, and mistreat the people of God, but those who do will face the wrath of the Almighty. “You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed.” This is likened to a “Threshing floor” where grain is taken, trampled, beaten, and tossed so the wind can blow away the waste and stubble. He, at times have even caused the enemy to turn their own weapons against one another – “You thrust through with his own arrows the head of his villages”.

        Still yet we see the prophet rejoicing in the power of our great God. There is none who can withstand Him. He is victorious, and will always be victorious. We are reminded of another victory at the Red Sea. When the Egyptian army came by way of the path through the Sea, the Sea closed in on them – “You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters”.

        How glorious is our LORD. How majestic is His name. He will always bring His people through.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        Key Commandment

        A KEY COMMANDMENT

        Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Ex 20:17 (KJV).

        This one final commandment is a KEY COMMANDMENT, because it will have an affect on all the others.

        Covetousness is the heart of envy, greed, and lust. Marriages are ruined, friendships are wrecked, and even churches have been destroyed because of this “little” sin of coveting. It is not so “Little”. It will affect your actions toward the rest of the commandments.

        COVETING IS THE SECRET SIN – no one can see this sin, or knows you commit it; except God and yourself.

        There are some Bible examples of covetous behavior. Achan, when the Israelites conquered Jericho, saw a nice garment, some silver and gold, and took it, even after hearing the commandment of the Lord not to do so. Because of this disobedience Israel failed in its attempt to conquer Ai, and people of Israel died (See Joshua 7). There is also king David; as he was walking upon the roof top of his palace he viewed an attractive woman bathing, and he coveted her. Someone put it like this – HE SAW HER, HE SENT FOR HER, HE SINNED WITH HER. Because of this action of covetousness, it is very clear that he broke all the others, and he murdered the husband of the woman (See 2 Samuel 11:1-5ff.). Another one is Ahab, the vineyard thief; Naboth had a vineyard which Ahab coveted, and with the designing aid of his deceiving queen clearly broke the ninth commandment with false witnesses, and murdered Naboth to get the thing he longed for.

        WHY THIS IS A KEY COMMANDMENT. James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 (KJV). Get that, “Guilty of all”. Now that can be said of all the others too, but here, I hope you can see why it is important to realize that covetousness is a seed of evil, that breeds evil, and leads to the decay of the whole law in the hearts of people.

        According to the book of Colossians it is Idolatry to covet. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” Col 3:5 (KJV). Even the book of Ephesians backs this up by saying, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Eph 5:5 (KJV). Note that Paul has written there, “Nor covetous man, who is an idolater…” O, the sad thing is there are many, many, too many people who live for the grasping and holding on of things, or people, or positions, or power; do I need to go on. I think you get the point.

        If this commandment is broken, then there is absolutely no value left in any of the others, for the one who is coveting. If she/he can get what they want by falsely accusing another they will do it. If they can get it by fraud in the company they work for (stealing), they will, by all means possible. If he/she sees another person they desire, married or not, they will do what ever to get them. They will not stop at murder to get someone out of the way to obtain their goal. Certainly by these things there will be no way they are honoring their father or mother, and most sure have nothing to do with God who created them.

        COVETOUSNESS LEADS TO ENVY, ANGER, MALICE, GOSSIP, ETC.. The goal of gossip is always to try and show one’s self better than the one who is being talked about.

        LET’S SEE WHAT JESUS SAID, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15 (KJV). Again Jesus says, ” Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matt 6:31-34 (KJV). Now if this is not a word for those who covet things and such, I am mistaken about the whole issue, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:21 (KJV). If your heart is on the things of the world, that is your treasure. However, if your heart is on the Lord and His righteousness and glory, that is your treasure. If you are going to covet; covet the godly things, that will glorify the Savior.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        The Almighty, the Majestic One

        The Almighty, the Majestic One

        There is a section of chapter 3 which we are about to finish, and that is verses 3-7, and this section describes the Majesty and Power of the Almighty God. In verse three we see His glory. In verse four His brightness, horns coming out of His hand with His power hidden. In verse five pestilence went before Him and fever followed at His feet. In verse six He stood and measured the earth, and His ways are everlasting. My, O, My what a wonderful, powerful, majestic God we know and serve.

        “I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; The curtains of the land of Midian trembled.” Habakkuk 3:7 (NKJV).

        We know that as God worked in Egypt to bring the children of Israel out of that land of slavery and oppression, He struck fear into the hearts of the Egyptian people and their king. They were trembling by the time the Pharoah told them they could leave. They were paying them to leave, giving them gold, silver, precious jems, and rich clothing.

        The message the prophet Habakkuk is getting to all his people is God has never failed to bring His people to His place. It may not be like we sometimes think, but He will get us through.

        The reason I say this in the personal is that is true of the Christian today. It was/is true for the people of Israel. One day this Nation called Israel will see their Messiah, and they will call on His name. The name of the One whom they have pierced, and they will call Him their King and Lord.

        The people of Cushan and Midian were nomadic people, meaning that they never stayed in one place very long. We know that because of the “tents” and the “curtains”. We see in other passages of Scripture that God made all the nations tremble before this Nation He had freed from Egypt. That is why Balak called for Balaam to curse this people but could not. He did eventually lead them to a place of bringing God’s curse on them themselves, by joining with the Moabites in sin and wicked practices (See Numbers 25 and 31:1-11).

        God never allows His people to sin successfully; and He never allows those who hurt them to escape His judgment. They will tremble before Him.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        Reminder of His Love

        Reminder of His Love

        In the last article on this chapter of Jeremiah, the final verse of our text was the last part of verse 19 which tells us, “And the fear of Me is not in you,’ says the Lord GOD of hosts.” That is usually the reason for departure from God.

        As we look into the following verses we see the Lord having them recall their deliverance from bondage, then playing turning against their deliverer.

        For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not transgress,’ When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine? For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me,’ says the Lord GOD” Jeremiah 2:20-22 (NKJV).

        One of the things that we can see throughout God’s dealings with the chosen people is that He loves them. His grace is everlasting, and His mercy endures forever. That is a theme for His people throughout all of Scripture.

        God had delivered His children from the bondage of Egypt, and burst the bonds which held them. He had done this in just a matter of days while working in Egypt through the plagues upon the land and the people. They witnessed the mighty power of God. Not just Israel, but Egypt witnessed this awe-inspiring events which turned the heart of Pharoah, at least for a time, to let God’s people go.

        The people had promised God they would not transgress His law. They did. That is why the declaration is made, “When on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down playing the harlot”. The pagan, Gentile altars were on the high hills, and under the trees. God is charging the people with spiritual adultery. That is, the forsaking of the true Husband for an imposter. They had turned away from holy God for unholy pleasures. They had forgotten the attitude of Moses. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way –

        “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoah’s daughter, choosing rither to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” Hebrews 11:24-26 (NKJV).

        The prophet Isaiah in a previous time had spoken of Israel as a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7). He speaks of the Husbandman planting the vineyard, but all He received were wild grapes. God says through Jeremiah, “Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality”, and now they have turned their backs on God and are worshipping stone, wood, flesh. They have in fact become an “alien vine”. That is not what God planted. That is the picture we see.

        When they have made themselves unclean before God, they then, evidently feel guilty, try to wash themselves clean with the strongest cleanser they have available that day. They would go and worship the false gods, taking pleasures that should not have been their’s to have. After their violation of holiness with God they would then seek to make themselves clean before God, and without true repentance.

        Thus God says, “Yet your iniquity is marked before Me”.

        The lesson for the follower of Jesus Christ is that we have been delivered from sin. Our sins have been forgiven. The law of the Lord is written in our hearts. We are free to live righteously, holy, and undefiled lives through the power of the Spirit of Christ who lives in us. When we sin we have an advocate with the Father. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. There is need for repentance and that is a turning from sin and to the Lord Jesus.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        His Power and Glory

        His Power and Glory

        Songs as this one are expressions of praise. Following words of question, and God’s answering them the prophet now sees that this whole thing is really about the power and the glory of God.

        In verse three we see, “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise”. This song continues as we look at the following three verses.

        “And His brightness was as the light; and He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power. Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk 3:4-6 (KJV).

        The “brightness… as the light” reveals much about this wonderful, graceful, loving God who has made, and sustains all things. Where there is evil there is darkness, and where there is darkness of the heart, there is evil. The brightness of the light of Christ will drive out darkness. Where the light of God is darkness is not.

        Can you imagine singing this song. If only I knew the tune which the prophet had in mind. Yeah, yeah; I know they did it differently than we do, but I would still like to hear Habakkuk sing it. I am certain that this came from his heart. There is nothing like a song sung from the heart. That counts for more than a beautiful singing voice. Also, we often do not listen to the words, but, hear these words. Sunday; when you are singing those hymns, listen to the words. If you listen too closely you may decide you do not want to sing them any more.

        “And He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.” Horns are a symbol of power in the Scriptures. Habakkuk is using a picturescue way of describing the power of God’s hand. He is powerful, and that does not describe it wonderfully enough. All-Powerful is a better term, and that term is expressed in the word Omnipotent. All power comes from His hand. The power of any president, king, dictator, or despot comes from God. It is He who gives us all the power we may or may not have. In His hand is where that power is hidden, and can only be seen as He reveals His open hand.

        When there is judgment upon the earth it is from His hand. At His hand the pestilence goes before Him. His feet treads out judgment making the way for holiness, righteousness, justice and peace.

        It is only this All-Powerful One who can measure the earth. He has in fact already measured, and came up short of His glory. Nations have been driven asunder, and all nations will one day bow before Him. The mountains were scattered, and they are the “Everlasting mountains”. His ways are everlasting, and will out live the mountains.

        We have come short of His glory (Romans 3:23). His ways are everlasting, and through faith in Jesus Christ we can rest in His everlasting ways. The judgment of sin has been fully paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. The penalty for sin has been fully paid. All who reject Him stand opposed to His everlasting ways, and will still face His judgment. Repent of your sinful rejection of Jesus and turn to Him, and walk in His everlasting ways.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        Precious Truth

        PRECIOUS TRUTH

        Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Ex 20:16 (KJV)

        To some today truth is fairly well meaningless. I wonder though, if someone had been seen at the scene of a crime, but were not guilty of the crime, how important the truthfulness of the witness would be to them at that junction of their life? I dare say it would become very important, if that witness could speak the truth and acquit the accused.

        How important is the truthfulness of a witness? In some and in many cases it is the difference between life or death; or life in prison, and/or a life of freedom. Is the truth important to you, even if it applies to others? It is my belief that we should be as concerned, if not more concerned for the truth to prevail for the good of others, as well as ourselves. Truth matters in being a witness. It matters for the accused but innocent individual. It matters for the family of the innocent accused, or even the guilty. It matters for the home, the church, the local government, State government, National government. It matters for the sake of justice.

        When looking at these 10 Commandments, and as we look in particular at the final six and our human relationships we should ask ourselves, “Would I want someone to commit any of these prohibitions against me?” “Would I want my children to dishonor me?” “Would I want someone killing me, or someone I love?” “Would I want another man sleeping with my wife?” “Would I want someone stealing from me?”, and coming to the present one, “Would I want someone being a false witness against me?”, and the final one; “Would I want someone desiring my things so much that they would do anything to get them?”. I will be daring and say that their is not a sane person living who would want any of these things happen to them.

        Now back to the subject at hand. The law of God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” What exactly does this involve. Is it for the individual who is witnessing in court? Yes! Is it for the individual who is witnessing to a neighbor? Yes! You are witnessing as you share a word of gossip. You are witnessing as you defame the character of someone you do not care for. Is this a good witness? No! This is as true in politics. When one candidate charges the other with things they have heard, but are not proven. When one charges the other with something they know is not true.

        In his book “Love, Liberation and the Law” J. Vernon McGee has a three point outline on this ninth commandment –

        I. THE ORIGINATION OF THE LIE.

        II. THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE LIE.

        III. THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE.

        JUST WHERE DOES THE LIE BEGIN? According to Jesus Himself, the devil is the father of lies, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44 (KJV). We see clearly from the One who is the author of all of creation where the lie originated.

        Why would we want to be associated with the Lie? His end is destruction. His end is eternal flames. His end is eternal torment, and anyone who follows his path will go there with him.

        JUST HOW WOULD YOU IDENTIFY THE LIE? McGee writes, “Did you know that there are more words for breaking this commandment than all the other commandments put together?….some of them – lying, mendacity, prevarication, slander, backbiting, defamation, detraction, belittling, censoriousness, gossip, depreciation, derogation, rumor, vilification, aspersion, forgery, mudslinging, falsehood, guile, hypocrisy, insinuation, innuendo, railing, whispering, talebearing, libel, fib, fable, equivocation, disparagement, fabrication, aberation, deceit, trump up, forswear.” (From LOVE, LIBERATION, & THE LAW by J. Vernon McGee pg. 150). That is a terribly long list of bad words, which are words in action to destroy another.

        This law is just as viable and meaningful today as it was the day God gave it. It is good for the courtroom, the living room, the sunday school room, the board room, and over the backyard fence. Can this commandment be broken even when speaking the “Truth”? It was when Jesus was on trial. Words can be twisted making a truth into a lie. Doing this makes you a false witness against your neighbor.

        JUST WHAT IS THE DESTINATION OF THE LIE? Just a few Scriptures will bear out for us the lies destination. “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Prov 19:5 (KJV).

        “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.” Prov 19:9 (KJV)

        “Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.” Psalms 101:5 (KJV)

        Now look in the New Testament, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” Rev 21:27 (KJV)

        “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Rev 22:15 (KJV)

        “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Matt 12:36 (KJV)

        People who are given to lying, bearing false witness will end up in the same pit of destruction as their father. There will be no joy, no peace, no God. There will be torment, maybe even by your own lying tongue. There will be no water there to quench the thirst for lying or dryness.

        Keeping the law will not save you. It is, however your schoolmaster, showing you your need of Jesus as Savior.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        The Preacher in Power With God

        The Man in the Wilderness

        “And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” Matthew 11:7-19 (KJV)

        Jesus makes a declaration about the prophet who showed the way to Himself. Jesus’s word is that John was a prophet who stood, and was not swayed by the tide of public, or popular opinion. The “Reed” spoken of by Jesus was native to the country, and was easily bent in every slight breeze. He would not bend to the winds of conformity of the flesh. He would not win any elections. He would not even allow his name to be submitted to any office.

        John was not a man who would attend the social events of the season (v. 8). He was not out to win any popularity contest. The people would not have gone to the wilderness to seek the finely dressed. He dressed in “camel’s hair” very similar to Elijah’s apparel. Not the garment of a popular individual, or one seeking popularity.

        A prophet of great esteem, that esteem was from the Lord, not men. To be esteemed “the greatest” by the King Himself is certainly the highest of honors. The esteem of man is useless in eternal matters. Because John was the herald of a new covenant, a better way, those in the new are counted greater. John is counted only as a friend of the Bridegroom. Those in the new covenant are the Bride of the Bridegroom.

        The people to whom John preached, and to whom Jesus preached were mostly a people who committed a Dereliction of duty. They heard the voice, but the words were of none effect. The nation neglected to heed the message of the prophet (v. 12). Their opinions were on equal ground with the Word of God. Their attitude was, “We will have the kingdom in our own way”. They hated the prophet and this eventually showed up in their hatred for the King. It seems that the message of all the prophets were despised by the nation (v. 13). John’s message is on equal footing with that of Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah to Malachi. His persecution was on equal footing as well. Here are some similarities. 1) John was fearless before Herod – Elijah was fearless before Jezebel’s prophets; 2) John was locked in prison – Jeremiah was put in a pit; 3) John lost his head – Isaiah was probably sawn in two. John preached against the adultery of Herod; as pointed out earlier (14:1-12).

        John would have been the one “In the spirit and power of Elijah” if he would have been received (vv. 14-15; Luke 1:16-17). His ministry would have been to turn the hearts of the people back to God. This was accomplished in a small way. There is yet to come another “In the spirit and power of Elijah” who will accomplish his task (Revelation 11:1-14). The message of the prophet is one people must hear and take heed.

        This generation of people was likened to spoiled, uncooperative children (vv. 16-17). Likened to children playing wedding game, then others come into the picture, and declare they want to play the funeral game instead. They want to mourn at a time for rejoicing. They want to rejoice at the wrong time and weep at the time of rejoicing. John’s message was one that the Messiah has come, and the people refused to hear it, tearing their garments in grief. When it was declared to them the time for mourning, then they were rejoicing. There is a whole lot of that in the world of 2008.

        It seems the religious leaders had no desire for hearing the truth of God’s message from His prophet John. When they did not want to hear they set out to find fault. The prophet because of his “self-control”, lack of fleshly desires, sometimes loud, and “rude” preaching is accused of being demon possessed. Jesus, because He sits and dines with “tax collectors and sinners” is accused of gluttony and drunkenness. By these accusations they are only endeavoring to cover their own sins that have been exposed for what they really are.

        Truth always bears fruit. Lies also bear fruit, but none worth having. Truth reveals the good, and exposes the bad. The children of complainers and accusers continue complaining, accusing lives – to eternal condemnation. The children of wisdom are drawn to the Savior. If Jesus and John were the way of these accusations, then, why are lives changed by faith in Jesus. The resurrected, changed life is evidence that the claims of Jesus and John are true and not the claims of the complainants.

        -by Tim A. Blankenship

        A Higher Authority Than the Bush

        Higher Authority Than the Bush

        I do not wish this to be an article speaking against our President. In my opinion he has done a good job as our leader, but nevertheless he is only a man, and is susceptible to making mistakes. I just think suggesting the following, and forcing Israel to withdraw from their 1967 “Occupation” will in fact be taking the side of our enemy. The Palestinian’s; as a nation; not only hate Israel, they also hate the United States of America, and all Christians.

        “I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue,” . These were the words of United States President on Thursday January 10, 2008 as he addressed the media and heads of state for Israel and the Palestinian people. This according to the Jerusalem Post.

        The President went on and said, “There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The agreement must establish a Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people.” From the Jan. 10, 2008 Jerusalem Post.  Where is Mr. Bush getting the authority to say these things? Where is he leading our nation? Any nation which stands opposed to Israel, and forcing them by quiet threats of embargo, withholding of arms, food, or anything else is opposing them; and is in grave danger of destruction.

        Anyone who looks back at that 1967 war would have to see that Israel won due to divine intervention. Israel was ill equipped, poorly trained, and few in number; and they were surrounded by the enemy; yet Israel won the war. That sort of thing is not done except by the sovereign rule of the Divine One; also known as the Holy One of Israel.

        Remember God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob [Israel]; “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3; 26:3-5; 28:12-16). There is no promise to a “Palestinian” people. Just who are the Palestinians anyway? They are a people, but are they to take from the nation of Israel what has been given them by God? Not according to Scriptures. Especially in light of the fact that they have and continue to do so by exacting terror upon the nation Israel, for their distinct purpose of the destruction of Israel. The Palestinians will not be happy until Israel is run out of the land, and they have complete control of Jerusalem. “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His anointed…” Psalm 2:1-2 (NKJV).

        For my brothers and sisters in Christ who are also Palestinians you must submit to God’s plan for Israel. It is not for you or me to say what is to be done with the other nations; including your people. God has made that determination already, and He will continue to do so. To force a Palestinian nation is in fact an act against God.

        There is one thing I am almost certain of concerning present day Israel. If the United States would truly support Israel by letting them defend themselves without rebuke; they would deal with the terrorist which have struck fear into the nations of the world with a ferocity which would leave the terrorist out of business, and pleading for mercy.

        One day the land is going to be divided as God has directed. That can be read in Ezekiel 47:13-23. The North border shall be from the “Mediterranean above Tyre to an area near Damascus. The eastern border extends from the Dead Sea and beyond. The southern boundary stretches from the Mediterranean and the River of Egypt (not the Nile, Gen. 15:18) to south of the Dead sea. On the west is the Mediterranean.” From PROPHECY STUDY BIBLE, p. 890. It is most likely that in the Millennial reign of Christ on earth that the eastern border will reach at least to the Euphrates River.

        God has given the land to Israel. Let’s keep it that way and trust God to handle the peace of it. Can we not realize and believe that there will be no peace in Israel until the Prince of Peace comes to reign on earth. Read Zechariah 14:1-21.

        When the nation of Israel is wrong on certain things let us allow the Word of God to make that determination, and not the Unitied Nations or the terrorists. When God’s Word reveals they have wronged a people, then rebuke them. When they have not then encourage them. They will one day turn to their Messiah, and will look upon the One whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7). They will see Him and believe, and be saved.

        God once spoke to a man through a burning bush; and this present Bush seems to be burning, but what he is speaking is not the Word of God. The first bush was unburned; this Bush’s Presidential term will soon be over, then that fire will be out. I have never seen Mr. George W. Bush as an opportunist, but in this it seems that he is out to make a name and legacy for himself. I may be wrong, but I see no other reason there. Don’t you have a legacy? Isn’t your legacy defending our nation against terrorism, and in my opinion you have done it well; and much tribute and honor to the young men and women who have sacrificed their time, their families, their lives, and so much more.

        Let the citizens of the United States of America repent of our sins. Our sins of immorality, and sins of departure from faith of trusting God, and God alone to be our security, peace, and salvation. Let the citizens of the USA also repent of our failure to truly support Israel.

        Jesus Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He will and does reign forever.