…To Know the Love of Christ…

“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:13-21  (KJB)

This was the apostle  Paul’s prayer for the Ephesus Church, and all saints of God.  Let it be my prayer for the Lord’s Church where I serve, and all the Body of Christ.

Stedfastly Set Your Hearts Unblameable

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; and sent Timothy, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.  For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.  For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.
But now when Timothy came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that you have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also you: therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.  For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all even as we toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”  1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 7:5; Acts 17:15; 18:1; 26:7; Philippians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 13:9; Zechariah 14:5

Getting Equipped for the Battle

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But that you also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that you might know our affairs, and he might comfort your hearts.  Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.” Ephesians 6:10-24

REFERENCES: Isaiah 11:5; 54:17; 59:19; Luke 22:53; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 1 John 5:4; Matthew 26:41; Philippians 1:4

7 Lessons When Prayer Seems Unanswered

The Fight of Faith

Sovereign Lord, what I most desired you have denied, yet I praise you! On what account, I know not, yet I praise you. You have done it; that silences me. Your will makes it indisputable, and renders it my indispensable duty to your wise determinations. Hitherto I have had no complaint on the conduct of providence; nor shall I complain until all the mazes are explained. Do, then, all your counsel, though all my counsels should come to nothing. Can a person expect favors from God–who will not wait for God’s way and time?

But what does it matter how the affairs of a present world go, if the interests of the next world are secured? The weather-vane is whirled about with every blast, but the iron spire is still at rest, because it cannot be displaced. So, what does it matter though the outward man decays–if the inner man…

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Constant Praying

Constant Prayer

Colossians 4:2-4

Paul writes about prayer. He encourages much concerning the matter of prayer. Prayer is an important part of a Christian’s life, growth, and living. The Word of God is our food source, and we need to pray for our understanding and enlightenment, and to know how to apply it to our lives. Prayer is our communication with God, while the study and reading of God’s Word is His communication with us.

Proposed OUTLINE –

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).
II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).
III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).
IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).
V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

In Arabian folklore we have the story of Aladdin. Within the story is a Genie in a bottle. The one who finds the bottle and releases the Genie gets wishes. It should be a fearful thing for Christians to view the communication of prayer with God as something similar to the Genie in a bottle. We do not go to Him and request whatsoever is according to selfish human desire.

In the writing of this, and preparing to deliver it as a message makes me so aware of a lack of knowledge concerning prayer. I fall so short when it comes to prayer. There are times when in my private time with the Lord, I can hardly utter a word. Many times what I pray seems so trite, and unimportant when compared to God’s Word. Yet, in God’s Word we are told to pray. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17); Pray, “For kings, and for all that are in authority…” (1 Timothy 2:2); Jesus said, “…Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane He said, “Pray that ye enter not into temptation” (Luke 22:40), and He also said, “Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:46). That is enough to let us know the importance of prayer and praying.

When it comes to praying; it is not about getting what we want, as much as it is about giving glory to the Lord, and knowing His will for our life and living. Jesus did say,

“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).

What does the Christian, the follower of Jesus Christ desire? To know God, grow to be more like Jesus, for the glory of the Lord in our life. If you have seen prayer as a means of getting your feeble wishes granted then, you have fallen into the trap of “thorns and thistles”, and they will smother you out.

I. THE TIME FOR PRAYER IS NEVER SET; IT IS FOR ALL PLACES, ALL TIMES AND FOR ALL CHRISTIANS (v. 2).

There is no set time for prayer. You can pray at a planned time or event. You can pray when there is no planned event. You can pray when you feel like it, and when you do not feel like it. It seems that some of the best praying is done when we have fallen to our lowest level. When things seem to have fallen apart, then we get serious about praying. Is that what our Lord had in mind when He said, “Men ought always to pray…”. Is that what Paul meant when he wrote to the people of Thessolonica, “Pray without ceasing”?

II. THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE IN PRAYER, AWAKE, WATCHFUL, AND AWARE (v. 2).

As we look around at events and happenings in our world we see an urgent need, a cry of sorts, a pleading to be in earnest prayer. A thought just occurred to me that the word “Earnest” means a ‘down payment’ in the book of Ephesians,

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” Eph. 1:13-14.

The thought I am seeing is; Prayer that pays the price to see the requested thing accomplished. That simply means a sacrifice in time on the knees seeking God’s face and His will in all circumstances, and situations.

This prayer must be one asked for while fully aware, awake, and watching faithfully to protect, keep that very thing with which we have been blessed. It also means doing those same things for the souls of others. We have an enemy who wants, even desires ravenously to devour us. We are called to vigilant, diligent, earnest prayer. Prayer that sees God’s will is done, and He is gloriously magnified.

III. THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYER SHOULD BE THAT OF THANKFULNESS (v.2).

Christians should be the most happy and joyous people walking on this planet. Yet, far too many times there are hearts, and lips of complaint rather than thanksgiving. When we are praying we should be especially thankful to our Lord for the many blessings he has given us. One of the things we should thank Him for daily is life, because He can take it from us without a moments notice. Have you ever thanked God for each breath of air? What about each step you take?

Let’s look at this “Thanksgiving” thing from another angle. Do you thank Him for the answers to your prayers? And, even before they are answered, as far as you can tell? Can you, and will you thank Him when He gives no answer, at least immediately? Sometimes it is just plain tough to be thankful. What if God gives you the answer of “NO!”? Will you be thankful for a “NO!” answer? You could be if you knew that God had your best interests at the center of His heart, and that what you had requested might cause you irreparable harm, physically, spiritually, mentally, or whatever other way there is.

The apostle Paul wrote,

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” 1 Thes. 5:18.

IV. PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT THE TASK OF PRESENTING/PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND THE WORD (v. 3).

Those who proclaim the Word of God and the Gospel are in constant need of the prayers of the people. That is because the adversary the devil is not pleased with the Gospel and the Word going forth as God has commanded. He does not want God’s Word accomplishing what He pleases, ie. what God pleases. God’s Word will not return to God void – without accomplishing God’s purposes. It must be presented though.

The devil can throw a kink into its presentation by questioning in the mind or minds of recipients of the Word. Remember Eve, and the serpents question to her. “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The serpent is a real liar, deceiver, con-artist, and the father of all such.

Paul request prayer for his ministry of proclaiming the gospel to all who would hear, and as many as would hear. Notice the things for which he asks: 1) for open doors (opportunities) for preaching the Gospel; 2) to be able to proclaim the message of Christ which at one time was a mystery, but has now been revealed; and 3) that he would be able to explain it so as to have it revealed more readily by the power of the Spirit. We do not need to make the Gospel difficult, but make it as clear as possible that the Spirit would work in power without any baggage

V. PRAYER FOR THE MINISTRY OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 3-4).

There is power in the Word of God. When there is enlightenment by the Spirit of God the Word of God changes lives. We must pray for the ministry of the Word to have as much an impact on individual lives as there could possibly be. How big is God? He is bigger than all that is. The Lord asked Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14).

Jesus, in His prayer for His disciples, prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” John 17:17. When people are praying for the Word of God to go forth in power, there will be power in the pulpit, power in the pew, power in the home, power on the road, power in the homes of the neighbors where the Word is proclaimed, power in the schools, power in government – Local, State, and Federal, and around the world. Of course, that is the ideal situation.

Too many times we pray for a sign miracle, ie. healing, a need met immediately or almost immediately met, or money to fall into our laps. Pray for the ministry of God’s Word. Pray that it will first and foremost have an impact in your own life, then, in the lives of your family members, neighbors, work associates, friends, and such.

Do you have a backsliding or backslidden brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray for their renewing. You know their problem, most likely, mention it when you pray to the Lord. Do you have a lost brother, sister, father, mother, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or enemy? Pray that God would convict them of sin, make them miserable in their sin, then, ask the Lord to show them Jesus dying for their sins on the cross.

Pray that your pastor, and all those who proclaim the Word of God may do it clearly with understanding, with power of the Spirit, and with boldness.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Found Praying Against the Law

“Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.” Daniel 6:11-17ff (KJV)

DANIEL IS FOUND PRAYING, ACCUSED, AND CONVICTED (vv. 11-17). The spies went back to work as soon as the decree was signed. Spying on only one man it seems. What treachery and deceit.

Daniel was guilty as charged. Oh that we might be found praying. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Is there enough evidence in your life; in mine; to prove you guilty of being a Christian? If I were to die on my knees in prayer, witnessing to a lost person, or preaching from the pulpit; I could not think of a better place or way to go home to Heaven from.

These men are very persistent in getting the king to fulfill his own decree. The laws of the Medes and Persians are not altered (v. 8). What was the king to do? He tried all day to find a way out for Daniel. The king loved Daniel. Finally, with much pain of heart, disgust, and probably discontent toward himself for decreeing such a law, and toward these others the king declares Daniel guilty and sentences him to the lion’s den.

THE KING’S NIGHT OF UNEASY FASTING, SLEEPLESSNESS – AND DANIEL’S NIGHT WITH THE LIONS (vv. 18-23). Darius spent the night tormented by what he had done. He would not eat. He refused to sleep. “No musical instruments” implies he refused to sleep. The music was used to sooth a troubled soul – he refused it.

The king was probably first to the lion’s den the next morning. He cries out to Daniel. There must have been some faith there. He had some hope that Daniel was alive or he would not have called out his name. Notice the king’s testimony, “Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God whom thou servest continually able to deliver thee from the lions?” Living God; as opposed to the dead gods of the Medes and Persians.

Daniel was alive. God had sent “His angel”. Who was this? It is most likely the same one who walked in the fire with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego]. (Remember I am wanting the readers here to know there God given names). None other than the pre-incarnate Son of God. A Sunday School teacher was teaching a children’s class the story of Daniel. One little girl said she knew why Daniel was delivered from the lions. She said, “Because, the chief lion was ‘the Lion of the Tribe of Judah’”. What a wonderful answer. With Daniel in the lion’s den the lions – by God’s power – reverted back to their pre-fall condition; non meat eating, but rather eating of grass, roots, fruits and such. I can sort of imagine Daniel sitting down and one big male comes walking up to him, not growling, but purring like a kitten, brushing his side up next to Daniel’s leg. Daniel gets cold during the night and a lioness comes and lays next to him to keep him warm, and Daniel using one as a pillow on which to lay his head.

The king spends the night in a comfortable castle, with a comfortable bed – if there was such a thing in that age – but cannot sleep. Daniel rests in peace, and is warmed by the one’s who were supposed to slay him and have him for the last evening’s supper.

There was no mark or hurt found on Daniel. He was taken out of the lion’s den in the same shape as he was cast in. Most likely with a stronger faith in God now, than when he was thrown in the den.

JUDGMENT COMES ON THE SCHEMERS AND PLOTTERS; THE JEALOUS ONES (v. 24). The conspirators are judged with the same judgment that they judge – “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” Matthew 7:2 (KJV).

In the book of Esther Haman schemes to have Mordecai hanged. His scheme is revealed to the king and Haman is hanged on his own gallows. Schemers will be found out and judged. Even if they are politicians, kings or presidents.

THE KING RECOGNIZES AND YIELDS TO THE POWER OF DANIEL’S GOD (vv. 25-28). Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, makes a decree declaring Jehovah, the God of Daniel, as the only living God. His kingdom “Shall not be destroyed” as opposed to the kingdoms of men. God’s sovereignty is forever and over all that is.

Notice the final verse of chapter six. Daniel prospered during the reign of the Medes and Persians. WHY? Because of His faithfulness to God

FOUR QUALITIES OF DANIEL, THAT CHRISTIAN’S NEED IN EVERY AGE:

  1. He had a consistent attitude;

  2. He was consistent in his performance;

  3. He had a consistent purity;

  4. He was consistent in prayer.

Let us pray to be consistent in these practices, and watch God be glorified.

A life like this (the life of consistency) begins by believing in Christ Jesus through His death on the cross for our sins, His burial – carrying away our sin, our shame, our guilt, our condemnation, and death; and He was gloriously raised from the grave, and He forever lives.  Believe Him, and live with Him forever, beginning the moment you believe.

The Dream is Revealed

Broken Pieces

Daniel 2:14-23.

Seeing how Daniel and his friends were not invited to the council meeting they had every right to ask what was going on. “Why is the kings decree so hasty?” (v. 15).

Arioch was the ‘captain of the king’s gruard’, and in charge of killing the incompetent ‘wise men’. When Arioch came to Daniel; Daniel had questions. He knew nothing about the king’s dream nor his edict to kill the frauds.

Arioch seems to be patient with Daniel and his friends. He shares with Daniel how the king has made a decree to kill all the astrologers, magicians, sorcerers, etc., including all those newly trained in the crafts. This include Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. REMEMBER THE ABOVE QUOTATION BY GRAHAM SCROGGIE. They studied astrology, etc. “to understand it, but not to believe it.” The power of these Hebrews was the person who created all things. The person…

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Christmas Day Forty Three

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want for this Lord’s Day to be a day the people appear in their Sunday morning Bible Studies, Worship and evening Worship to only sing, pray, praise, preach and glorify Jesus Christ; to be prepared for the week ahead, to be the witnesses of Christ, filled with His Spirit, walking with Him; so that others might desire to know Him.

“For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6 (KJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and Nine

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)

…And read Matthew 6:5-13 as well.

Praying people will be forgiving people.  Praying with pretense, or for show, shows nothing, but hypocrisy.

What do I want for Christmas?

When I pray I want to  be heard by God, not men; I want my prayers to always be offered to God with a heart that knows it has been forgiven by God, and in knowing that in my heart, soul and mind I will always forgive those who have offended me.

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Eight

What do I want for Christmas?

I want power with God in praying, and prayer; to pray for a soul to be saved, and they are; to pray for God to show Himself strong and He is; to pray for healing in marriages, and they are.

This is another LORD’S Day; let us pray now and when we are in our houses of worship.

Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 (KJV)

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” James 5:15

Plead For Your Neighbor

“O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!” Job 16:21 (KJV)

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had come to Job with good intentions. Their silence for those first seven days was more comforting, caring, and supportive than any of the words they spoke thereafter. Job even states in verse 2; “Miserable comforters are ye all.”

Job’s words in the text is as a man, or a woman could stand before God; like in a court; and plead for their friend or neighbor. Job’s thoughts were pleading for a reprieve from suffering, judgment, pain. If the shoe was on the other food, that is what Job would have done; if it were possible.

Can we make a plea to God in behalf of our friends, neighbors; even our enemies? If we can should we? The answer is yes on both counts.

Because of the wondrous grace of God through the cross of Jesus Christ we have access to the very throne and presence of God. Those who have come to God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the priests of God; therefore we can come before Him with our pleading, supplications, prayers, and petitions.

We come before the court of our LORD, and plea for our neighbor’s salvation; their health which may be failing; their wealth; their family; and any other thing or need they may have. It should be a privilege, honor, and duty of love to do so. Even if your neighbor is an “Enemy” we still must pray, and plead for them.

The Case Against God’s People

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Known for that because of his mourning for the sins of the people of Judah, and Jerusalem. He sees the failings of the priesthood, of which he was part. The weaknesses, the hypocrisies, and often blatant lies and deceptions; not only among the priests but among those who called themselves prophets of God.

God could speak with Jeremiah. Jeremiah heard, and many times responded to what God said. Hear what God says to Jeremiah near the beginning of his ministry;

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.'”  Jeremiah 2:1-3 (KJV)

God begins in the first message by confirming them in their first belief. They had followed, at least through Abraham, had been obedient in the wilderness, and had grown in love with the LORD. There was kindness, fondness, love in their hearts for the LORD, realizing that He alone was responsible for their having a land, a promise. They had been chosen from the place of God’s amazing grace and mercy. They were undeserving. They were unworthy. They were sinners among the other sinners of the earth. There was nothing special about them, thus in there early days they loved the LORD.

Despite the fact of their departure the LORD reminds them of His promise, “All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD”. No one can expect God’s blessing who lifts their hand against the people, the nation, whom God ordained to give us the Scriptures, ordinances, and laws. Yet there is room for His judgment. Pray for Jerusalem – Israel.

As Christians we must remember our “First love”. That love we had for Jesus when we first believed. The things of the world around us have a power which can lure us away from loving Him. God commended five of the early churches of the Revelation, but would only condemn two of them because they had departed from Him.

If you truly know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then, there was a time when you walked with Him, you loved Him, cherished Him, and it did not bother you that there were times He seemed distant, but you trusted His Word when He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Something has happened in the past few days, weeks, months, or years that have caused you to get away from Him, His Word, from praying, and cherishing His abiding presence. You have become more consumed with sports, entertainment, comforts, leisure, conveniences, and even family activities, than with your walk with Him. It is time to return to Him, before the judgment of your sin comes on you.

He puts His protecting hand on all who have trusted Him. You can believe He will keep you, protect you, and anyone who raises an evil hand against you will suffer by His hand. Be assured God loves you with an everlasting love. Enjoy it, revel in it, rejoice in it, and He will be glorified.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Elijah in Prayer

No where in the context of the writing about Elijah are we told of Elijah’s praying, however, the New Testament does tell us of Elijah’s prayers,

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.   And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”  James 5:16b-18 (KJV)

So we know that Elijah had power with God, and he received that power because of his commitment to God and earnest prayer.

As we were looking at Elijah ministering to the widow of Zarephath I neglected to mention that this widow was a Gentile.  As Jesus mentions in Luke (4:25-26) there were widows of Israel who could have used some help, but God sent Elijah to Zarephath instead, due to the hearts of the people of Israel being in rejection of God and His Word.

Now as Elijah is praying “the word of the LORD came” to him…

“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, ‘Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.'”  1 Kings 18:1

This third year could possibly be the third year since he came to stay with the widow and her son.  God is ready now to call Israel to repentance, and to return to Him; and He will use Elijah to call the prophets of Baal to a challenge of fire.  We will not get into that just yet.

We notice in the verses to come that there was a servant of Ahab’s who was a God fearer, and had protected some of the other prophets of God;

“And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” 18:3-4

Ahab had called on Obadiah to search with him for water in fountains, brooks, and grass for caring for the king’s animals.  It seems quite pointed to see a king searching for food for his animals while maybe a unconcerned about the needs of the people.

We need to learn from Elijah the necessity of prayer.  However, without faith in God, much prayer avails nothing.  The power of prayer is not praying.  The power of prayer is GOD.  And Elijah loved the LORD, and believed Him and trusted Him unto life.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 44 – Thoughts from Psalms; Jerusalem

The city of Jerusalem on the East shore of the Mediterranean Sea is a city which is the source of much conflict; yet its name means, “city of peace” or “teaching peace”.  Yet Jerusalem has no peace.  It is a source of much conflict because there are three religions which want to claim it as their own city.  Of course, the Jewish people claim it, they have since David claimed the city, after he conquered the Jebusites, and it was called then, “the city of David”.

Jerusalem was called Jebus when David conquered it.

“And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land.  And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, ‘Thou shalt not come hither.’  Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David.” 1 Chronicles 11:4-5 (KJV)

And David changed the name to Jerusalem.

My reading for today was Psalm 122 through Psalm 135.  The city of Jerusalem is named six times in these 14 Psalms.  It is named three times in Psalm 122; verses 2, 3, and 6.

What is it that makes one historic city, in a historic country, and of very little real estate such a “hotspot”?  One thing is that it is the place one of the most well known men of history was born near the city, died there, was buried there, and He arose bodily from the grave in which He was buried.  Another thing in its history is that the temple of Solomon was at Jerusalem.  Solomon’s time as king of Israel was known as a time of peace, prosperity, and glory for the Jewish  people; as well as the glory of Solomon’s temple.  There has never been another like it.  There is another religion which holds Jerusalem to be a sacred place and that is the Muslim religion.

Jerusalem was held for years by Islamic people; and the Christian religion of Catholicism thought it good to start a war over the city, to conquer it and return it to “Christian” ownership.

Enough of my “history” lesson.

The psalmist prays for the peace of Jerusalem,

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.  Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.  For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, ‘Peace be within thee.’  Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.”  Psalm 122:6-9 (KJV)

I believe we could put this to practice in our day.  Christian; we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, because when Jerusalem is at peace our Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God,  will be on the throne ruling in this world.  The world leaders of today are trying to bring peace to Jerusalem, and the world by doing everything, except what God in His word says we are to do.

Can we apply this verse to the church today?  Only in praying for our churches.  David was not asking for prayer for the church, but for Jerusalem, the city,

Notice what he says of those who will pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the city of peace. First, “They shall prosper that love thee”  When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem I believe we are praying for the coming of the Lord Jesus.  He is the Prince of peace.  There will be no peace on earth until the Prince of peace comes in all His glory.

Before He comes, however, you need to know the “peace of God” that only Jesus can give.  When He comes it will be too late.  To know about Him, His life, death, burial and bodily resurrection today; and to reject Him opens your mind to all forms of deception for the days ahead.

Secondly, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we are praying for peace in individual lives to prosper.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and experience peace, today.  (See Romans 5:1; Philippians 4:7)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jerusalem and Prayer

The City of Jerusalem of the land of Israel is a hot topic.  It causes many people to get furious over it, because it seems to be; in their minds; there religions city.  Israel claims it, Catholicism claims it in the name of Christianity, and Islam claims it in the name of Mohammed.  Thus there is much struggle over the city.

Scripture calls it the “City of David”  (2 Samuel 5:7; 6:10;  1 Kings 2:10; and several other references in 1 Kings), and “City of God” (Psalm 46:4; 48:1, 8;  87:3).  David was the King of Israel, who had the heart of God.

David wrote,

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”  Psalm 122:6 (KJV)

There are many events; some of them very catastrophic which happen in and around Jerusalem today.  Many arguing and fighting for a Palestinian State.  I do not see a Palestinian State mentioned in Scripture; the main purpose of the “Palestinian people”, by many of their own people is to destroy Israel.  So Jerusalem does need our prayer.

When the Psalmist writes this he is not asking us to pray for the peace of the “Church”, or Islam, but the peace of the City of David and of God.  It seems there has always been a struggle between the holy and the unholy, good and evil over this city.

Someone has said something like this, “As goes Jerusalem; so goes the world.”  When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and her people Israel we pray for the peace of the world too.

Jerusalem is the place where our Lord Jesus walked and where He died on the cross and was burried and from which He rose again to life.  It is also the place to which one day, and I believe soon, will return and make things right in this world (Zechariah 14).  There will be peace in Jerusalem through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

As Good As Already There

Looking at the High Priestly prayer of our Lord and Savior once again we are reminded of the Son addressing His Father in our behalf.

“Father, I will  that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.”  John 17:24 (KJV).

Those whom the Father has given the Son are all who have come to faith in Jesus Christ through the work of the Spirit of God.  The requests of the Son, Jesus is first of all that we may be with Him where He is.  Jesus is in the presence of the Father.  He is in the will of the Father.  He is fulfilling the will and glory of the Father.  His final and eternal place is in glory, His glory, and with us with Him and in Him.

Peter, James, and John were three who had the privilege of seeing the glory of Jesus, even before He died on the cross and was raised to life again.  See Matthew 17.    This glory was what Jesus had with the Father even before the world was created.  He had the glory of the Father; as He claims; “Before the foundation of the world”.

That is the place He has prayed for those who believe Him; to be.  Are you as good as there; right now?  By faith in Jesus alone, you are.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Not Of This World

I believe with all my heart that Jesus is still praying for His disciples – those who are following Him – today.  The Lord’s Prayer of John 17 is such a wonderful and powerful prayer.  It is an assuring prayer, and should be a motivator to inspire us as we pray.

Last time as we looked at verse 15 we saw that Jesus prayed that His followers not be taken out of this world, but that the Father “Keep them from the evil”.  Jesus intended His followers to be an example of godliness to the world, and we cannot do that if we become isolated and separated from everyone else.

The request we look at today is quite simple and somewhat of a statement completing the last request:

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  John 17:16 (KJV).

Jesus came into the world in the likeness of sinful men, but yet, without sin.  He came into the world as one of us, but not of the world.  He came from another place.  A place of glory and splendor.  He left all of that to come and redeem us unto Himself.  He is not of this world

In the Revelation of Jesus Christ there is a phrase which is used several times, …them that dwell upon the earth” (3:10; 6:10; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:6;) and another similar to it, …the inhabiters of the earth” (8:13; 12:12).  These references are of course speaking of those who have no heart for God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Those who follow Him, Jesus says, ‘are not of the world’.  Not of this world we have been born again to walk in a new life, a changed life, no longer tied to the temporal things.  The heart of a believer is tied to the things of the glory of Jesus.  We are not of this world; we are still in this world, and for the purpose of showing forth the glory of Jesus our Lord and Savior.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is Jesus Praying For You?

It is one of the greatest things for a follower, a believer of Jesus Christ to know.  To know that He has prayed for us, and knowing who He is means that His prayers are answered.

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine.  And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are mine; and I am glorified in them” John 17:9-10 (KJV).

There!!! Jesus said it; “I pray for them”, and He was more than sincere, that was His heart.  There are those who would and will say, “Well!  He is only praying for His disciples”.  Yes!  Aren’t you His disciple?  I am.  He prayed for me.  He prayed for you, because you and I were in His thoughts when He spoke this prayer to the Father.

He was  not praying for the “World”.  He was praying for all those whom the Father had given Him.  Jesus had said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” (John 6:44a).  In this way the Father has given the early disciples; for whom Jesus was praying; and us, the later ones as well.  It is a wonderful heritage which we have in prayer.  To know and believe that we were given to Jesus by the Father; that Jesus has prayed for us, and still continues to intercede for us; is a wonderful, peace giving, Spirit powerful, and awesome privilege.  It is also more than privilege; it is a “Right” given to us by Jesus, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power [the Right] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” John 1:12.

Because of Jesus, His praying for us, and His atoning work on the cross we glorify Him.  That is what He prayed for and that is what He receives.

Be thankful today for this wonderful blessing.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Words Which Were Given

There are many words for us to hear.  The Words that Jesus spoke and is still speaking are the ones He has given us in the Bible; His holy Word.  They are given us for faith, practice and Christian growth; for His glory.

“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”  John 17:8 (KJV)

We see in this verse, one of those things given to Jesus by the Father; “the words”.  Which words is Jesus referring to?  Jesus’s teachings, His doctrine.

There are three things about the disciples which are mentioned: 1. They accepted Jesus’s teachings;  2. They knew – were certain – that Jesus was of divine origin and character;  3. They believed that He was sent by the Father.

Jesus brought the “words” and principles of the Old Testament to life.  As the physical manifestation/revelation of God he was the living Word of God.  They are no longer dead, lifeless vowels and consonants that only show one’s sinfulness and give no life.  Rather, they are now life giving through faith in the “Sent One”.

The only way for these disciples to know these things is because they  were God’s from the beginning.  No one can come to God on their own.  All salvation is a work of God.  It is God who awakens man’s awareness of God’s existence.  It is God who draws men/women to  Himself.  It is God who convicts of sin and all unrighteousness.  It is God the Father who causes us to look to the cross of Jesus and fall on our knees in repentance, grace and faith.  It is all of God, and His grace (SEE John 6:44).

NOTE – Election of God and predestination are essential doctrines of belief, but trying to understand it will drive one crazy.  It is essential in believing, but not for understanding.  God is sovereign and knows exactly what He is doing.  Let’s leave the work of eternal salvation to Him; through the cross of His Son Jesus.  He knows and understands it all.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus…Lifted Up His Eyes To Heaven…

This will begin a focus on the “Lord’s Prayer” as given in John 17 –

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee:” John 17:1 (KJV).

There is a teaching the Lord gave concerning how His disciples are to pray in Matthew 6.  It is often called “The Lord’s Prayer”; however it should in reality be called something like “The Model Prayer”, because Jesus in that prayer was teaching His followers how to pray.  It was not a prayer He would pray.

This beginning of His prayer in John 17, is the beginning of “The Lord’s Prayer”.  This is the prayer that He prayed for Himself, and those who follow Him.

Jesus, realizing that the time of His death is approaching asked the Father to glorify Him.  A time of trial was approaching in the life of Jesus unlike anything He had ever experienced.  It was a trial that was going to be for His glory and the glory of the Father.  Jesus asked for something He knew the Father had willed for His life.  He fully believed and trusted the Father to see this matter through to the end.

When we pray in the Father’s will we will be asking for His glory to be seen in our trials, and our joys of life.  That is the heart of Jesus.

Let’s begin to follow Jesus in our praying.

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Prayer, Praising Earthquake

Up until a few years ago I always kind of though musicals in movies, on stage, etc. was a funny, and needless way to do things.  Then, I realized our lives are a musical. I mean by that; that, if you are like me anyway you will be in the middle of doing something, working, golfing, camping, hiking, riding a bike or motorcycle; anyway you get the idea.  In the middle of doing these things, and just break out in a song.

It may be a song dealing with how you feel.  If you are at work you might want to sing, “Take This Job and Shove It”, or if you enjoy your work, it could be a bit more jovial like a hymn of thanksgiving or praise to the One who gives us all things to enjoy.  So life is a musical.  For some it is a musical even when things do not look so bright. Singing praises to God in the midst of suffering, your suffering makes life so much more joyful musical.

Have you ever thought much about what singing praises to God and what praising Him can do?  Well, there is an example in the book of Acts.  It was following the beating, and jailing of Paul and Silas after they had been faithfully preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Philippi.  The preaching of the Gospel had been responsible for delivering a young girl who was demon possessed by a demon.  She was the source of income for her soothsaying.

When this girl was delivered, or course, her soothsaying days were over.  That should tell us something about the “Ghost Whisperers”, and “Mediums” and witches we hear about.  When she was delivered the men using her lost their income, thus they were angry with Paul and Silas, caused a riot of sorts in the city; got Paul and Silas beaten and jailed.

What was Paul and Silas doing in jail?  They were singing praises to the Lord.  Here is what the text says,

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”  (Acts 16:25).

Verses following show that there was an earthquake, the doors of the prison were opened, the guard and his family were born again.  Now that is the result of a praying, singing, praising people.

Let’s learn to pray, sing, and praise our God and Savior no matter the violences the world and its biases hurl at us.  Who knows what would happen  in the USA, and the world if God’s people would sing, pray, and praise our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Case Against God’s People

God Builds His Case

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. Known for that because of his mourning for the sins of the people of Judah, and Jerusalem. He sees the failings of the priesthood, of which he was part. The weaknesses, the hypocrisies, and often blatant lies and deceptions; not only among the priests but among those who called themselves prophets of God.

God could speak with Jeremiah. Jeremiah heard, and many times responded to what God said. Hear what God says to Jeremiah near the beginning of his ministry;

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying’, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the LORD, the firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 2:1-3 (NKJV).

God begins in the first message by confirming them in their first belief. They had followed, at least through Abraham, had been obedient in the wilderness, and had grown in love with the LORD. There was kindness, fondness, love in their hearts for the LORD, realizing that He alone was responsible for their having a land, a promise. They had been chosen from the place of God’s amazing grace and mercy. They were undeserving. They were unworthy. They were sinners among the other sinners of the earth. There was nothing special about them, thus in there early days they loved the LORD.

Despite the fact of their departure the LORD reminds them of His promise, “All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,’ says the LORD”. No one can expect God’s blessing who lifts their hand against the people, the nation, whom God ordained to give us the Scriptures, ordinances, and laws. Yet there is room for His judgment. Pray for Jerusalem – Israel.

As Christians we must remember our “First love”. That love we had for Jesus when we first believed. The things of the world around us have a power which can lure us away from loving Him. God commended five of the early churches of the Revelation, but would only condemn two of them because they had departed from Him.

If you truly know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then, there was a time when you walked with Him, you loved Him, cherished Him, and it did not bother you that there were times He seemed distant, but you trusted His Word when He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

Something has happened in the past few days, weeks, months, or years that have caused you to get away from Him, His Word, from praying, and cherishing His abiding presence. You have become more consumed with sports, entertainment, comforts, leisure, conveniences, and even family activities, than with your walk with Him. It is time to return to Him, before the judgment of your sin comes on you.

He puts His protecting hand on all who have trusted Him. You can believe He will keep you, protect you, and anyone who raises an evil hand against you will suffer by His hand. Be assured God loves you with an everlasting love. Enjoy it, revel in it, rejoice in it, and He will be glorified.

-by Tim A. Blankenship