The Judgment of The LORD

“The just LORD is in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning doth He bring His judgment to light, He faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.” Zephaniah 3:5 (KJB)

The LORD is always good. There is never a time when He is not.  If He were not also Holy, Just, Righteous, and Jealous He would not be good.

The people in the day of Zephaniah’s prophecy were feeling quite positive of God’s presence with them. Judah, Jerusalem was counting on the fact that God would not leave them, neither forsake them; and the prophet assures them that He is indeed in the midst of them.

The LORD in their midst did not excuse their iniquity, their sin, their rebellion against the LORD. It would rather magnify their grievous sin – at least it should have. It magnified iniquity for the prophet of God; and God used him to warn His people.

For the people of God in 2019, those who call themselves “Christian” this word is for you today.  God truly is in our midst; He will not do iniquity, and He does not rejoice in it.  While the judgment of sin has been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, He was buried, and He rose again; does not give you a license to sin; neither is it an excuse for sin.

It is a license to freely live for God, confessing our sin when we commit the grievous act of sin and iniquity against God (1 John 1:9).

God will judge those who refuse to accept the gift of grace through the cross of Jesus Christ.  We must never forget as a Christian, that judgment must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

O that the Christian today; from the pulpit to the pew, the preacher to the man or woman who professes Jesus Christ as Savior of their lives to fall on their faces before God confessing, and repenting of their sins. Also crying out to see their sin as God does.  That would be the beginning of a great awakening in the Body of Christ.

They Called Them to The Most High

“And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him.” Hosea 11:7 (KJB)

The prophet is speaking of the people of Israel. Their hearts were set on turning from the Lord GOD. Yet, God in His great mercy and grace was set on redeeming them.

He called prophets who would teach them, deliver them, and warn them of the path of rejection and rebellion they were walking, living in.

I must be honest with you, that for me, and I believe every Christian; one of the easiest things for us to do is to go our own way. To worship God, and Him alone takes a devoted, undivided heart for God, and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

That is why it is a necessity to be a faithful student of the word of God – the Bible.  We must be people who see it as our necessary diet for daily strength.  When we get in His Word, and it through the Holy Spirit gets into us God makes us a different and powerful person for the glory of the Lord.

Father, turn Your backsliden people back to You.  May we all turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His burial carrying away all our sin, our shame, and condemnation, and His resurrection; and knowing that He lives is evidence that we too shall live with Him forever.

What the Kings of the Earth Say

“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us.” Psalm 2:2-3 (KJV)

I have been sharing these posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google.  My prayer is that you will read them.  You are also welcome to leave a comment or question or even a kind critique of my writing or need for improvement.  I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will educate you in His word, and convict you of your sins and your need for a Savior, that Jesus Christ is the only Savior for Adamkind [mankind].

Some of you received this without any exposition of the text, and I fully intended to come back to it and complete it.  I also pray that you have come back to it to check it out further.

Who are these “Kings of the earth”? They are the rulers who were alive at the time of this writing of the Psalms, and all the kings of the earth that have existed since time began, and exist in 2018.  It does not take much discernment, at least for a Christian, to see that the earth and the leadership of nations are against the teachings of Christ, His being the Son of God, and God the Son in particular, to realize that they, and without realizing it are the enemy of the Son of God, Christ followers, and Biblical Christianity; they are against God.  They are in rebellion against God and godliness because they are of their father, the devil who is Satan.

Many a world leader would rather be at peace with the rebellious Philistines than to be at peace with God and His word, and His people.

To be against His Anointed is to be against God’s Christ who is Jesus Christ. To be against Christ is to be against those who are His, and that is the Body of Christ the Church.  There is still much rebellion against God in our world.

Stop being against Him.  He has died to redeem all those who will call on His name in repentance of sin, and turning to Him in faith.

An Uprising

“And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And He hath brought thee near to Him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?” Numbers 16:8-11 (KJV)

Korah, Dathan and Abiram were family in the tribe of Levi, and the children of Israel journeyed through the wilderness, out of Egypt.  The family of Aaron was appointed as the family of the priesthood, and these Levites were caretakers of the “Holy articles” of the tabernacle.  Yet, at least these three raised a ruckus against Moses and Aaron and GOD.

This is one sad, but too often repeated in the Biblical history, as well as throughout world history.  People who are not content with their God given place in service and life.  That is where wars and strife come from (James 4:1-2).

Look at the leadership of Moses.  He states the case for what it is.  It is a rebellion against the LORD (v. 11 in the text above).  These were God’s people, going God’s way, doing God’s will; and yet there was discontent, jealousy, and bitterness.  All those things are against God.

As Korah gathered the congregation together against God, Moses and Aaron “…The glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation” (V. 19).  The LORD had appointed Moses and Aaron to their positions of leadership, and the other Levites to their positions.  It is a dangerous thing to challenge God, and His appointments, and/or His authority to do so; then to question the authority of those He  has placed in authority.

Moses plead with Korah, Dathan and Abiram (vv. 8-9), to change their heart and mind; but to no avail.  Moses and Aaron fall on their faces before the LORD (v. 22), and plead with God for the congregation, and God’s mercy upon them.

All who would separate themselves from the uprising, and the three men would be spared the event that was about to happen.

Because they refused to repent the judgment of God was about to fall.  Hear the words of Moses to the men and the congregation….

And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. vv. 28-34

We all need to consider these words which are from God.  This by no means even hints at toleration of evil and godless leadership; especially within a Congregation of Christian people.  Neither does it allow for false teachers who preach contrary to the content of Scripture, or of Christ Jesus.

Let us be content with our calling and place in life.  Let us do our part, and not even desire the office of another.  If we could we might want to ask Korah, Dathan and Abiram about the reality of God’s wrath and judgment.  I think they would agree with…

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of  the living God”  (Hebrews 10:31).

You do not need to perish.  Realize you have sinned, that God sent His Son Jesus to die for you; that He was buried, and that He rose again from the grave, and that He eternally lives giving life to all who believe Him.

 

 

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Twenty and Eight

“For thus saith the Lord GOD; ‘How much more when I send My four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it,’ saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 14:21-23 (KJV)

Jerusalem, Judah, Israel were being judged because of their rebellious, hard  headed, hard hearted actions against God, His Word, and His ways.  They were being disciplined by a loving, caring Father who loved them deeply, but loved them too much to let them go to eternal destruction.

He does not judge, or discipline without purpose or cause.

What do I want for Christmas today?

It seems to me that our nation, and much of the world is given to idols of our own making; recreation, entertainment, are two of the most popular; and to be clear; there is nothing wrong with those, except when they take us away from God and His Word;  So I want that my heart and mind be on Jesus, His Word, His way for my life, living for Him, and Him alone, and the knowledge, wisdom, and power to live with joy, and praise in my heart and life solely because of Him; and I want all others to know this same joy, power and praise, and to have the same assurance of eternity with Jesus, due solely to the fact of the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 363

What do I want for Christmas?

I want the sins of every charlatan Christian leader (especially in the U. S. of A.) to be exposed; their false teachings to be exposed, and the rebellious hearts of all who profess Jesus Christ to be exposed; that God may show Himself strong among those who love Him.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” Ephesians 5:11-13 (NKJV)

Since it is the ministry of every Christian pastor to preach the whole counsel of God’s word; to make God feel good; not themselves, and not any individual but the Lord Jesus Christ.

See also Psalm 119:126.

God’s Word Will Stand

Prisoners from Judah have been taken to Babylon. Jeremiah and a remnant of people have been left in Jerusalem and have been told by God through Jeremiah that they are to stay in the land and till, and tend it, and that God will bless them, protecting them, and keeping them from further harm from Babylon.

The people have asked Jeremiah to go to the LORD, and seek His direction as to what they are to do. They seem to mean by that: “Do we stay in Jerusalem, or shall we go down into Egypt?” God has told them to stay in Judah and trust Him. They have flat out rejected the word of the LORD, and said, “We are going to Egypt.” See Jeremiah 43:1-7.

“Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by My great name, saith the LORD, that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth. Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, Mine, or theirs. And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that My words shall surely stand against you for evil: Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.” Jeremiah 44:26-30 (KJV)

After the people have arrived in Egypt God gives them a sign to show that it is His word that will stand; not theirs. That sign is that Babylon is going to come against Egypt, and the very thing that they feared will come to pass. All that refused to hear the word of the LORD, and obey will face famine, death, and pestilence.

Yet, there is a promise in these verses, “Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah…, and they shall know whose words shall stand, Mine or theirs”. That has part of the phrase that is mentioned throughout the Old Testament “They shall know…” mentioned so many times in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

Why is it so important for God’s people to know, to hear, and to do the word of God? So that we can better know Him, and live under His blessings and not His chastening, disciplining hand.

Jesus Christ is God’s living Word. When you hear Him, and follow Him you are cleansed, you are forgiven, you have eternal life through His death, burial and resurrection. His Word shall stand.

God’s Truth, and Preachers of Lies

“Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, Send to all them of the captivity, saying, Thus saith the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite; Because that Shemaiah hath prophesied unto you, and I sent him not, and he caused you to trust in a lie: therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed: he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; neither shall he behold the good that I will do for My people, saith the LORD; because he hath taught rebellion against the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:30-32 (KJV)

Through the prophet Jeremiah God had spoken to the false prophet Hananiah (chapter 28), and he had died just as Jeremiah had said. Now there is another; one named Shemaiah who was one of the captives in Babylon writing from Babylon telling the people not to listen to Jeremiah. In telling them that, he was telling them “Do not listen to the word of the LORD”.

Now, I can somewhat understand why some of these people did not want to believe Jeremiah as prophet of God. They were bound to the temple, they were patriotic toward their nation. They had a hard time believing that the temple was going to fall, and that the nation was going into captivity. I can get that. Yet, who are they to love, and adore? Who is the One to whom they owe allegiance, and obedience? There is only one answer to those questions; and that is the LORD God.

Shemaiah was probably one of those who were adulterers, and dreamers of lies. He was for sure one that would not accept the prophecy of the 70 years in Babylon. Probably like Hananiah said, it would only be two years.

How was an individual supposed to discern the truth between the two, the true and the false? Which ever prophecy came to pass just as it had been spoken; that was the word of God, and was the truth. Jeremiah’s words were proven true. Hananiah died that same year; as foretold. Shemaiah missed out on the blessings of God for His people.

O my friend do not deny the power of the word of God. Believe Him through His Living Word; the Lord Jesus Christ who fulfilled all the word of God; and was obedient to the Father all the way to the cross, dying for our sins, being buried, and bodily arose from the grave. One day He is returning for His people, and will make things right in this world. Believe Him today, and live eternally with Him. Otherwise you are perishing.

Being Happy

“Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” Psalm 144:15 (KJV)

Just recently I seen a news item, I believe, was on NBC news doing a study on Happiness, and where to find it. I never watched the series, or the study, but what I heard showed me that there was one item missing. That item was the Person who gives us happiness.

That person is not a wife, or a husband. It is not having the favorite job. It is not a new car, or a new house. It is not even volunteerism where you spend some or much of your time volunteering for a charitable cause. Are you one who is still searching for Happiness?

Your search can end when you have the LORD as your God. He offers you peace through His Son Jesus Christ; and being at peace with God is tremendous happiness just by itself (Romans 5:1-2). When the LORD is your God you have no more condemnation from Him, His Word; and the condemnation of others just will not matter any more (Romans 8:1).

The verses previous to verse 15 tell us of family; sons and daughters who live for and glorify the LORD; that when you are happy in and through the LORD your cattle (livestock) prosper; you prosper. John the apostle wrote, “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospereth” (3 John 2).

Just a word of caution. You can have happiness now, and that happiness is your prosperity. A note from the Believer’s Bible Commentary says,

“Actually these conditions will not be fully realized until the Lord returns, crushes all rebellion, and establishes His Millennial Reign.” Believer’s Bible Commentary

Until then, trust in the LORD, believe Him. Live for Him trusting His work in you, and He will bring it to pass. Be happy in the LORD.

Being the Doorkeeper with God as Our Shield

“Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of Thine anointed. For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.” Psalm 84:9-12 (KJV)

This Psalm was written for the “sons of Korah” (Numbers 16). Korah was a leader of rebellion against Moses and Aaron, along with Dathan and Abiram. Because of their rebellion they perished and much of their families also.

The Psalmist writes to those sons of Korah who did not participate in the rebellion. God is a shield to all those who trust in Him. The “shield” is also the king whom God has anointed.

Note that the Psalmist is saying that one day as a doorkeeper in the house of God is better than a thousand days in the tents of wickedness; even if with the wicked you are given the best amenities, and made wealthy by it.

God, the LORD, is our sun and shield; our light, our protector. It matters not what the world or the SCOTUS throws at us. The LORD of the Universe still reigns, His laws, and institutions are still up and going. What He said in Genesis 1 – Revelation 22 still stands.

“Blessed is the man [the individual] that trusteth in Thee”. The trust we show in YOU, O Lord is by believing your word. When we turn our backs against Your word, we turn our backs on You.

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

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 8:1-14

Reaping the Whirlwind

Hosea 8:1-14

When the people of God will not heed; and when His Word is not obeyed, and His promises not believed; judgment is imminent and unavoidable.

There can be much learned from watching the work of a farmer.  The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments place farming as a picture of warning and hope.  Farming is the world’s oldest profession.  From this profession we learn the eternal law of sowing and reaping.

When a seed is planted in the ground you reap likewise.  A seed of corn brings a harvest of corn;  of wheat, wheat; of barley, barley and so on.  One kind of seed does not produce another kind of harvest.

What kind of seeds had Israel sown?  Seeds of sin and destruction.  The seed sown does not immediately bear fruit, but harvest eventually comes.  As the harvest comes with corn and wheat, so too does the harvest come with sin.  See Galations 6:7.

It has been said, “Some go and sow their wild oats (Debaucherous and wild living), then pray for crop failure.”

“Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed My covenant, and trespassed against My law.  Israel shall cry unto Me, ‘My God, we know thee.’  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.”  Hosea 8:1-3 (KJV)

Some of the people of Israel never looked at he possibility of fruits of sin, or sin’s harvest.  People in the 21st century do not realize that there is a harvest for rejecting God and His Word.
The prophet is told to warn the people. “The trumpet” is the rams horn, also called “Shophar”, and was used for calling assemblies or to warn of an approaching enemy, as in this case.

The warning is certain.  Judgment is certain.  The “Eagle” is the Assyrians swooping down upon them carrying them away captive in the clutches of its talons.  Why?  Because they did not listen to God and “Transgressed against My covenant, and trespassed against My law”.

Although Israel would cry out to God, “We know thee”, the enemy would still come.  The words they spoke and the life they lived were a contradiction.  Compare this verse with John 8:33-47 especially listen to Jesus as He says, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”  That would certainly mean, “No matter how loudly you proclaim otherwise”  You find yourself in complete opposition to God.  Claiming to know God, or being in the right bloodline (physically) does not mean you know God.  The fruit you bear is evidence.  Living by the Word of God empowered by God’s Spirit.

The people’s rejection of God is shown in verse three as God says, “Israel hath cast off … good.”  Forsaking the good to do evil the enemy shall come.

The enemy is likened to the eagle; which can also be a vulture.  This enemy would come silently, devouring the dying and helpless, snatching in its mighty talons anything that could be carried away.  This is the harvest of rejecting God.

“They have set up kings, but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; Mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.”  verses 4 – 7

There is also the harvest of self-will.  That is the harvest we bring on ourselves because we refuse to follow the way God is leading.

If you were to look back in 1 Samuel 8:4-22 you would be reminded of Israel’s [the undivided nation] insistence upon having a king, “That we also may be like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:20).  It was a thing that displeased God and Samuel (See verses 6-7 of 1 Samuel 8).  God gave them their request.  For another time God gave them their selfish request see Psalm 106:15.  Requests of self-will, and it brought great harm to the nation.  Sometimes God gives us the leaders we desire, and then too late find out that was not a good deal.

Individuals and nations often set up kings of their own like and making.  The king in one’s life or nation is a reflection of that nation’s or individual’s heart.  Yes, God is sovereign, completely in charge; He does give us what we ask for sometimes to correct us, and draw us to Himself.

Jeroboam as the first king of the divided Israel [Northern kingdom] disobeyed God and set up golden calfs – probably similar to the calf Aaron built at the request of the people while Moses was on the mount with God – and led the people into worship away from God.  The tragedy is, that no king of the Northern kingdom ever turned from this worship of  self-will in the calfs.  Jeroboam went so far as to call people as priests who were not of the Levites; “He [Jeroboam] made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were  not of the sons of Levi.”  (1 Kings 12:31 NKJV).

These were not God’s ways.  It was completely contrary to the LORD’s direction.  It was the worship of Self-will.

In the New Testament book of Galations 6:7 the Lord spoke through His servant Paul saying, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  There is no exclusion in this verse for anyone.  This is the equivalent to verse seven of our text in Hosea.  What ever you sow is returned unto you many times over.

The next verse in the Galations text says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galations 6:8).  These are both with a harvest many times over the seed that has been sown.

To sow to the wind, they would reap the whirlwind [manifold].  The wind can be gentle and deceptive.  The whirlwind is nothing of the sort.  It destroys everything that gets in its way.  They [Israel] sowed the wind of idolatry, now they would reap the manifold harvest of the whirlwind of Assyria.

The worship of Baal and the fertility rites that go with it would prove to be fruitless as far as crops of grain and children.  The only harvest would be one of destruction – after all, is that not what they had sown?  The destruction is the harvest of the self-will.

“Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes.”  verses 8 – 10

Embracing pagan allies and their practices also brings a harvest.  A bear hunter looking for a good fur coat for the Winter compromises with the bear who needs a meal.  The hunter gets his winter coat, and the bear gets his meal.  That is the destination of people who play with sin, and compromise with it.  That was the destination of the people of Israel as they gave up God for pagan allies and deities.

In obstinacy and rebellion they seek the aid of Assyria.  Instead of calling on the LORD to be dependent upon Him they go to another nation which is also under the sovereign hand of God.  This obstinacy is seen in the use of “A wild ass alone by  himself.”  Alliance with another nation for defense was another “Lover” added to their lists.

The very nations they had called on for defense would be the nation God would use to correct, rebuke, purge, and bring them back to Him.  How foolish it is to embrace others for defense instead of God, and reap a severe harvest of shame.

“Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing.  They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of Mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will He remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.”  verses 11 – 13

Pet Rattlesnakes, pet Alligators,  are a dangerous thing.  How many times have I heard of someone having a “Pet snake” in the house only to end up being bitten, or their child being bitten then the adult or the child die as a result.  The same is true with “Pet Tigers” or “Pet Bear”, etc.  You may think you have them under control.  “Pet sins” are the same way.  You cannot control sin.  Sin enslaves us when we let it stick around.  That was the tragedy of Israel.

John Traylor writes in the study book, “‘Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law’ (v. 12 NASV) means that God made known His will in many different ways.  In spite of this, the people regarded God and His laws as strange and foreign.”  The law, to them was restricting and God was only trying to keep them from being “Happy”.  They had fallen victim to Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve.  “Yea, hath God said…” and “You shall not surely die…”  Believing that God was only hindering them, they want what they want, Now.

Israel continued to offer their burnt offerings, while in fact, they knew not God.  They were near the point of harvest for false and licentious worship.  Because of the sexual sin they would get diseases unknown to them before.

God would not forget their sin.  It would be remembered (v. 13).  The word “Remember” is used here in the same sense as that of Jeremiah 31:34 when God says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  In Hosea God says He will remember their sin and judge them for it.  They shall return to captivity, because of their licentious [sexual perversion] behavior they reap a manifold harvest.

“For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.”  verse 14

Forgetting God has a manifold harvest.  Rejecting God and His Word, thumbing your nose at it leads to forgetting Him.

Everything they depended on in God’s stead would be destroyed.  The idols cast down, their walls, buildings and fortified cities wiped out.  What is the reaped harvest of forgetting God?  DESTRUCTION.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God – Hosea 7:1-16

The People Deceived and Deceitful
Hosea 7:1-16

Can you imagine the actions of Gomer when Hosea came to redeem her from the slavery she was in?  “I have no need of deliverance” (Proverbs 30:20).  Hosea had her best interest at heart.  She was relishing her “Freedom”.  His interest was Gomer and her healing.  Eaten up and ensnared by pagan practices, and worship, which destroyed her relationship with God.

Remember Gomer is representative of the nation Israel, and Hosea is representative of God.

“When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.”  Hosea 7:1 (KJV)

The message is God’s to Israel.  “I would have healed you.”  His mercy was waiting to work.  Even though redeemed they refuse to turn from their evil ways.

The death of Jesus on the cross was the price paid to redeem and heal all mankind, yet people persist in sin refusing to let God do a work of grace and redemption in their hearts and lives.
Because grace is rejected evil continues to work like leaven [yeast].

“And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before My face.” verse 2

Israel was continuing in sin and rebellion against God believing He would not see, He would not punish or chastise.  They were dealing falsely with God.  If one can be deceitful, and operate falsely with God they can, and will with their fellow man as well.

To think that we can hide our sin and disobedience from God, or to think He does not take notice is completely ludicrous.  The psalmist wrote, “Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance” (Psalm 90:8).  Only the wicked can believe that God does not, or cannot see our sin, and does not punish it.  Ezekiel heard God speak saying, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols?  For they say, ‘The LORD does not see us, the LORD has forsaken the land’” (Ezekiel 8:12 NKJV Also see Psalm 10:2-11).

God does “Remember” sin.  He does not turn away, but it is judged.  All sin was for all time judged in God’s Son Jesus Christ.  He who rejects God’s Son rejects God’s love, and can expect judgment for his/her own sin – the price is eternal.

“They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.  They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.  In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.  For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.  They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto Me.”  verses 3-7

There was a familial delight in evil deceit, debauchery and anarchy.  Instead of a family or house of God delighting in holiness, and seeking Him; there was a family of deceit.  Seeking to seduce and lead others away from, rather than toward the Lord God.

It even seems tha the rulers, both the religious and civil were “Glad” with the wickedness.  It is quite likely that there was great financial gain through wickedness.  Why else would they be “Glad”?  Except for their  evil indulgence.

Their passions burned within them; keeping them “Banked” until the time was right – until sin reached its height.  Then, like the baker, the fires were stirred and the fires burned hot.  Their lust is pictured as an hot oven.  Lust is pictured as a burning fire; also in the New Testament.  Paul writing to the Corinthians said, “But I say to the unmarried adn to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am [unmarried]; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry.  For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 NKJV).

When the time for the putrid party begins the baker [initiator] stirrs the fires, and it becomes a “Flaming fire”.  Its leaping, dancing, gyrating flames alluring, inviting the masses to join in.

The ruler are bought and paid for by the wicked.  They cannot rule justly.  They cannot judge rightly or mercifully.  The judges, the kings have fallen.  Fallen to their own lusts and greed.  Fallen from the way of mercy and justice.  They all seek their own way.  God says, “None… calleth unto Me.”

“In terms of human relationships, adultery is the ultimate act of deceit, betrayal, and treachery.”  (John Traylor).

Evil became such a way of life that anarchy began to prevail.  Kings died by assassination, and judges perished by same.  If God pulls back his hand, his “Hedge” of protection, and lets man have his own way anarchy rules.

“Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.  And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek Him for all this.” verse 8-10

Israel turned from the Law of God, and accepted heathen practices.  It is hard for many of us to see the picture portrayed in verse eight, “A cake not turned”.  The picture is like a pancake, similar to like mothers or cooks prepare everyday for children or visitors to restaurants.  A pancake left unturned by its cook.  It burns on one side, and is left as dough on the other.  It is unfit for consumption, and the best thing to do is toss it out.

They have given themselves to evil.  They lose their strength of youth without even realizing it.  He has lost his power, because of turning from God to serve self, and does not even notice, that, God is no longer upon him.  Sin so blinds that the direction headed, and the direction turned from cannot be seen.  It is a great tragedy for the child of God to go on in sin and not realize that God’s Spirit, power and strength has departed.

Even though God continues to reach out to Israel, in pride they reject Him.  Their pride is a testimony against them (5:5).  We can handle it ourselves while we head to destruction.  The LORD hates “A proud look” (Proverbs 6:17).

“Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.”  verses 11-12

Have you ever had a bird in your house, or caught in any building?  It flies into the windows, the walls, ceiling, and frantically searches for a way of escape.  The door can be open, but it wants its own way out.  Most times you have to catch the bird, carry it to the door, and then release it.  The “Silly dove” is a picture of Israel seeking her own way.  Mankind seeking his own way.  You seeking your own way.  In order to be delivered God must capture her, and show her the way out in His hands of chastisement.

“Woe unto them! For they have fled from Me: destruction unto them! Because they have transgressed against Me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me.  And they have not cried unto Me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against Me.  Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against Me. They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.”  verses 13-16

Again God’s heart cry for His people is shown.  They flee from God to seek evil, and to their own destruction.  They lie about God, and to Him.  They “Lie against” God in two ways;

  1. By denying that Hosea’s message is from God;
  2. By attributing the blessings of their past to their worship of idols, and a possible third;
  3. By making God equal with all others.

Even though God has redeemed them they still persist in denial of God’s deliverance and power.

They are returning to ritual.  Ritual has no holiness requirements.  It has no power to change lives.  It makes many other requirements but provides no personal relationship.

Like an archer’s bow that is not true, and curved rightly it will not hit its target, even with the best of archers.  The bullseye is missed.  The bullseye of God’s glory; “For all have sinned, and come short [missed the mark] of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

There are seven reasons given for the destruction of Israel [Ephraim];

  1. They were set in their rebellion (v. 13);
  2. They were set in false witness against  the LORD (v. 13);
  3. Their insincerity in calling upon the LORD (v. 14);
  4. The committed apostasy in the way they sought for yields or better yields of their crops (v. 14);
  5. The people “devised evil” against the LORD (v. 15);
  6. The Israelites did not seek God (v. 16);
  7. The scornful speaking of the rulers of Israel (v. 16).

“Woe unto them! For they have fled from Me”  Beware children of God when you are getting so close to culture, and society you begin to identify more with them than with God.  When we begin to call good evil, we are in disagreement with God and in agreement with the world.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Redeeming Love of God (Hosea 5:1 – 6:11)

Rebellion and False Repentance
Hosea 5:1 – 6:11

To love God is to hate evil (Psalm 97:10).  “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13).  So declares the inspired Scriptures.

The problem with Israel as much as with people today, in general, even professing Christians, is that, we claim  to love God, and hang onto evil as well.  That cannot be, if we love God.  God says so, and it is so often ignored.

God’s desire for His people is that we learn.  Learn His ways, walk His paths of beauteous splendor.  But, there is such (what seems like) an unwillingness to learn, such desire for ignorance, rather than for a knowledge of God.

Many times in Scriptures the words “hear”, “give heed”, and/or “listen” are verbalized with great vehemence, that God cries out for their attention, but they do not give it.  Maybe I  ought to say “We do not give it” just to be fair.

The Word of God has been rejected and despised by the priests and rulers of Israel.  They have captured the people for their own gain.  The priests, the common people, and the king are guilty before God.  They all must repent and seek God.

“Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.  And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.”  Hosea 5:1-2 (KJV)

Many times God cries out through His messengers, the prophets, for His people to “Hear”.  Sometimes they listen and hear and turn form their path of destruction; many times they do not.

The judgment is toward all who are in the land.  As a response to hearing the Word some will turn, but will still suffer in judgment along with the nation.  Like we are told in Scripture “It rains on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45), and that includes blessing and judgment.

The leaders; the priests, the king, tribal leaders had ensnared and exploited the people.  The nobles and leaders were not only indulging in the practiced sin of the nation, but were also profiting from the immorality.  They did not want to cease from their sin.  There was too much profit, and an extravagant amount of pleasure to lose in doing so.  As long as there is enjoyment in sin there is no chance for repentance, and no blessing from God.

There was much bloodshed “slaughter”.  Slaughter of innocence.  The baby to the fire, the elderly “No longer useful to society”, those who cry out against audacious and vile decadence.  This will be judged.  There are many people today who worship at the fiery idol of “Choice”.

“I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from Me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.  They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.  And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself from them.  They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” Hosea 5:3-7

Rebellion and impenitence is the theme of these verses.

When a lost soul turns to God for salvation, that same soul has turned away from sin and the path of Hell.  There has been a change of heart and of life, and of lifestyle.

This is what God was wanting for Israel.  Israel’s problem is that, they wee caught in a trap.  They were enslaved to their won devices of sin, and could find no way out.  In fact they did not want out.  That is the blindness of sins darkness.  Jesus spoke of the bondage of sin and its darkness in John 3:19-20.  He said, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (NKJV).

In verses three through seven God cites five reasons He would chastise Israel, and ultimately Judah.  There were probably some in Hosea’s audience who would not believe Israel could or would be destroyed, thus, the five reasons.

  1. Ephraim had prostituted herself, and Israel stood defiled (v. 3);
  2. The Israelites deeds would not allow them to return to the Lord their God (v. 4);
  3. They in their pride had rejected God’s appeal for them to turn to Him for help (v. 5);
  4. They, instead, turned to the fertility gods for help (vv. 5b-6);  “The real tragedy is that their sin had so blinded them that they thought they were seeking God by the sacrifices, and other rites at the fertility shrines.”  Traylor page 56.
  5. Their treachery against the Lord God (v. 7).

On the part of Israel was betrayal, rebellion, and an intensity to sin.  On God’s part, He remained faithful.  The result of Israel’s continued rebellion against God was destruction.  Who are we to think that it cannot happen to us when we want to hang on to our sins?

“Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.  Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.  The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water.  Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.  Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.  When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.  For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.  I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early.”  Hosea 5:8-15 (KJV)

Judgment would come from within and without.  For those today who say, “Well, God wouldn’t do that” you better get a new thought.  God does not allow His children to sin successfully.

This blowing of the “Ram’s horn” is a warning to invaders.  There is a need for sounding a warning of invaders when people forsake God, and refuse to return to His way.  The warnings, as with Israel, often go unheeded, and the people continue to live a life of indulgent sin.  Wanting the blessings, of God, and yet clinging to godless living.

Judgment is inevitable when people hear the Word of warning, and refuse to turn.  The judgment comes due to  the lack of care.  Complacent, and apathetic toward the warnings; the enemy then comes in tearing and ripping and killing fulfilling the rebuke of God to turn His people from their sins.  Who can rescue one who is under the judgment?  God says, “No one can.”

God leaves His children to face their own sin, and its fruit. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galations 6:7).  He will not come to their aid until they confess their evil and repent of it.  God’s judgment upon His people is always redemptive.  Do not deceive yourselves; there are consequences to your sin.  You will reap the harvest of those sins.

“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.  After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.  Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”  Hosea 6:1-3

By all appearances  these verses seem to be a sign of true repentance.  At least what the Lord requires of His people for His promise to be fulfilled.  Let us keep them in context with the verses which follow.

How long does it take us to learn that we cannot fool God?  He knows our heart.  He knows our thoughts.  He knows when we are truly penitent, and when it is false.

Sorry they had been discovered, their sin found out, they want to avoid the judgment that was about to fall upon them.  Notice, there is no mention of forsaking their evil ways, only seeking to return in order to get blessing again.  They want healing, revival, and the rains, but God knows the heart.

“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.  Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.  For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against Me.  Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.  And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.  I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.  Also, O Judah, He hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of My people.”  Hosea 6:4-11

God will, and does judge His people to produce godly knowledge, and loyalty to Him.

The two questions of verse four are very penetrating.  They imply with force, “Why do you deceive Me?”  The repentance of “Ephraim” is only fleeting.  Clinging to their sin, loving their sin, they cry for forgiveness.  The “Morning cloud” appears until the light and heat of the sun hits it, then, it is gone.  The “Early dew” lingers on the leaves, grass, flowers, and the fields until the light of day causes it to evaporate into nothingness, and it is gone.  The describes the repentance of Israel.  Sadly, it also describes the feeble cries of repentance; if there are any; in the Church of the 21st century.  While wanting the blessings of God we also want to cling to our sin that separates us from God.  Wreaking havoc upon ourselves, our Church, our nation, and the world, sin continues while God calls us to repent.  God’s people are to be a stabilizing force in society, and culture by being unmoved by passions of lust and greed.

The Word of God in written form, and from the mouths of His prophets inflicts wounds to cut out sin.  “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).  The Word of God is the Law which shows the way of freedom.  Sin is an evil, and cruel master destroying life, and godly relationships.

The LORD God desires permanence in our loyalties.  His frustration is with words that have no commitment, no devotion, no perseverance.  When judgment comes it is as a light revealing pitfalls, stumbling blocks, and dead-ends.  Judgment shows that departure from God to sin has taken place.

False repentance is eager to sacrifice money, maybe time, and even attendance at worship, programs and feasts, but not personal commitment to change, to show mercy and kindness, to love as God loves – loving “God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our neighbor as we love ourselves”- to know God, and not just ritual.

The vileness of man’s heart continually transgresses God’s Law.  Acts of treason are committed against Him daily.  Treachery, the act to deceive, and  that which destroys trust, is committed by refusing to obey what has been agreed to by all parties.  God has no other choice but to judge.  Remember our God is holy.

Bloodshed, robbery, harlotry seem to be permanent encroachments upon the land.  God says, that it is “A horrible thing in the house of Israel.”  The house of Judah will not be exempt.  None who turn from God to serve self are exempt from God’s wrath.  Is there hope in that?  Those who experience God’s judgment, and confess their sins, and turn from their sins [repentance] to Jesus Christ, God’s holy Son will experience His mercy and grace.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 79 – Sin in the Church

There is probably nothing more sure and clear than the title of this post.  “Sin in the Church”.  To ask, “Is there sin in our churches?” is a very unnecessary question.  Where there is a church without sin; it is of their own confession; and not the truth.  Besides where there is people there will be sin.  By that statement I do not mean to lessen the gravity and seriousness of sin in the church.

In my reading this morning of 1 Corinthians 3 – 12 it was quite apparent that the apostle is writing this church to confront a major problem they have.  First of all they seem just a bit proud of their “Spirituality” and “love” since they have tolerated an adulterous affair to continue to go on in their midst (chapter 5).

The apostle addresses their immaturity at first,

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”  1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (KJV)

We see there are other problems of sin within the congregation as well, “strife and divisions”, arguing and debating over who is the best preacher, and probably other things.  Too many times in today’s society Christians “wear their feelings on their sleeves”, are easily puffed up, easily knocked down,  and easily offended.  That is the height of immaturity.

Paul’s intent for writing this letter is not to shame or offend this people,

“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.  For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.  Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”  4:14-16

We live in a time where “Tolerance” is king.  At least much of laws are written with tolerance in mind.  What is the idea of tolerance?  The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines “Tolerance” –

1. the act or practice of tolerating; esp. : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from one’s own  2: capacity for enduring or adapting (as to a poor environment) 3: the allowable deviation from a standard (as of size).

Today’s tolerance police would be proud of the Corinthian church.  They loved this couple so very much, and were so very tolerant they were about to bring the wrath and judgment of God upon themselves, and the whole church.  The apostle was not pleased when he heard of this, and this very well could be the main reason for writing this letter; the “straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak.  Hear what Paul told the church to do with the man:

 “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  5:4-8

If you will notice Paul’s concern was at least  in part for the man to be delivered from this grievous sin.  He was also very concerned with what it was doing and would continue doing if the rebelliousness and evil were not dealt with.

There is much to learn and hear for the guidance of the post modern church.  There is sin in the church today that needs to be dealt with.  I hear of adulterous affairs going on between couples within some local congregations; and if these sins and others are not dealt with then those churches will fall.

The first step in dealing with sin in the church is for each individual to keep their accounts short with God.  Read the Bible daily, hiding the word in your heart that you sin not against the LORD.  By taking heed to the Word of God their is cleansing and forgiveness.

To tolerate sin in one’s own life is not love; that is arrogance.  To tolerate sin within the church is not love, nor is it spiritual; it is pride and rebellion.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 1 – Genesis 1 – 14

The first day of reading through the Bible in ninety days is here.  I have completed the first 14 chapters.  As I told you in the last post I will be reading the Bible in the New Living Translation, which I realize is a weak “translation”, but it has an ease of reading which the KJV does not have, thus and can read without too much distraction by trying to decipher the days, months and years; lengths, weights  and such.

I did discover in my reading of the first fourteen chapters that there is much with the NLT which I have problems with in interpretation, but as I wrote of one of those problems in my journal, it could be a matter of perspective.

That problem was the NLT’s interpretation of Genesis 10:25,

“Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg—“division”—for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups and dispersed. His brother’s name was Joktan.”  Genesis 10:25 (NLT)

Now the KJV,

“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” Genesis 10:25 (KJV)

The problem I have with the NLT here is that it provides and interpretation that is not present in the text.  The word “earth” in the KJV is “eh’-rets” in Hebrew and can mean various things,

“From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land): –  X common, country, earth, field, ground, land, X nations, way, + wilderness, world.”  From Strongs Concordance — e-Sword.

The people had been divided by the change difference in languages, and there could have been a massive moving of the planet earth as well; not only causing a dividing of languages, but also of the land.  That is my thought on the matter.

We find in the reading of Genesis 1 – 14 that God is the Creator; that He created the earth and all things upon it in a seven day period.  On the sixth day having already prepared things for the crowning of creation He creates humanity, beginning with Adam, then his wife Eve.  Things were without problem in the garden God had prepared for them.  He even spent time with them in that garden, at least at one point He came to visit them, and found them hiding from Him.

Here we find the answer for all the ills and problems in our world today.  Why is there killing, sickness, disease, hardships of all sorts?  It comes down to this point that the first man and woman did not listen to God, nor obey His commandment.  That one commandment was,

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'” Genesis 2:16-17

Following their sin of disobedience, God comes to them, finds them hiding from Him and God drives them from paradise; places a guardian at the gate of Eden preventing their way to eternal life at the Tree of Life, and they begin to die.  Adam Eve have two sons Cain and Abel.  Rebellion sets in Cain’s heart even to the point of killing his brother.  God curses Cain.

Adam and Eve have other children.  We find the godly lineage in chapter 5; however there is much evil on the earth, and God destroys the earth and every land going animal; except for those He has chosen to save through the only justified man living.  “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (6:8).  The flood comes.  Noah, his wife, their sons, and their sons wives are in the ark of redemption with the chosen animals – 7 of each clean animal; 2 of each unclean.  My how God is full of grace and mercy.

From paradise to death to hope through Abram and a new land.  A new people, nation, a Promised Redeemer.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Way to Hell

Are we not always looking for the easy way to do things?  For many years we were in the “Industrial revolution” which brought us the steam engine, the gasoline engine, electricity, automobiles, power equipment for farming, gardening, and so forth.  Our ancestors worked hard, and they worked at fining an easier way of doing their work.

The word of wisdom from Solomon is found saying –

“Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”  Proverbs 7:27

Whose ways?  The temptress, the harlot, the prostitute, the flatterer (Male or female).  It is easy to fall into this temptation, because it comes from a natural drive; given us by God.  Just because it is easy does not make it right.  That is why Wisdom is speaking and telling the naive young man and woman in some cases that this the the way to hell.

We live in a generation where we are being told by some school personnel, government leaders, some religious leaders, and neighbors, family members and friends, “Oh!  It is such a natural thing; and it feels so good what could possibly be wrong about it.”  You could add your own experience with the argument to what the “it” is.

The whole matter with the sin thing, and especially the sexual sin is that it tends to stick with you for your whole life.  You will never get over it or away from it.  You can only hope and pray that some where along the way you can find forgiveness and cleansing.

The way to Hell is already prepared.  You need do nothing.  That is your destination when you are living in sin and rebellion against God.

The way to God has been prepared as well.  It is not so easy.  The easy way is not always the best way or the right way.  There was a price paid to bring you to God and His glory, and that was the life of His Son Jesus Christ.  With Him there is forgiveness and cleansing.  Trust Jesus and miss the way to Hell.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Grace Into Lewdness

“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 4 (NKJV).

Yes! This is the same verse as yesterday’s. However it seems prudent to deal a little more on that part of the verse which is in bold print.

It is sad that there seems to be a growing number of professing Bible teachers who call themselves or have been called “Free Gracers”. Grace is free from our loving God and Savior, however, the fact of its being free to us does not give us freedom to live without control. That is usually what is meant by those who believe in “Free Grace”. It is usually meant that when you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, or they would just say Savior, then you have the “Liberty of conscience, or spirit” to live as you so please.

In affect, they turn the “grace of God into lewdness”, and the idea of Christian liberty is taken beyond what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is; there is liberty”. We are free in Christ.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:12-18 (KJV)

The freedom which we have in Jesus Christ is not freedom to live as we please, but freedom from the law of condemnation, and freedom to live for Christ and unbound by sin. Before salvation we were servants of sin. Having Jesus as our Lord and Savior unbinds us from sin, then, to serve our Lord Jesus, and to live in the way that will glorify His precious and holy name.

It is not in the heart of a child of God to continue in disobedient, rebellious sin against our Lord. Jesus is Lord of the true believer, the true child of God. If the heart of the individual professing Jesus as Savior is not prone to glorify God by living for Him, then, that heart is not redeemed, and needs Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The heart of the truly saved individual desires to live in such a fashion that Jesus’s name will be glorified in their life. It is not given to the disobedience of sin.

The teacher who teaches such heresy is not a teacher of God, but is one of those who has come in “unnoticed” or “Unawares”. Take heed to what every teacher, who is teaching, teaches. Use the spiritual discernment which the Spirit of God gives you, along side the Word of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Pretty Women…

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

Coming from a family of nobility I guess it kind of hard to notice how things really are here in Jerusalem. Many of us profess to know the Lord, but we just walk on by the suffering and the hurting enjoying our little trinkets of jewelry, silver, gold and precious gems.

Walking through the Sheep gate today, though it is a place where the lambs for slaughter are brought into the city, I noticed a lot of pride. The women walking with their heads held high as though they had no problem in the world and the men no better. The women, at least more than a good majority of them, are full of haughtiness, thinking that beauty is the main thing of life. They call attention to themselves with jangling jewelry. They cry out for men’s attention; even men who are not their husbands.

One day this arrogance and pride will be judged by the Lord. He will take away the finery; The jingling anklets, the scarves and the cresents…will he do away with. What will these “pretty” women do then. LORD help us.

The sweet fragrance of their perfumes will turn to a stench of death. Rather than having well kept hair, they will be bald. O that the people of God would hear; O that we would obey His voice, and turn from our sins. God, the LORD of hosts, will brand them rather than give them beauty. What will become of the men they lure and chase after then? They will perish.

The women of Jerusalem, Judah, and all Israel will find themselves without enough men for husbands to go around. They will be slaughtered. There will be a great lamentation throughout all the land. There will be desolation.

When will people learn that the way of the LORD is through faith in Him? Faith is turning from the life of sin and death to live in Him.

O, the time is good, but Oh such darkness. There is a darkness that many do not see. There is light. O, come to the Light. Come that you might see.

“Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:  Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.  In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,  The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,  The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,  The rings, and nose jewels,  The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,  The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.  And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.  Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.  And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground. And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” Isaiah 3:16-4:1 (KJV)

 

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Rebellion’s Consequences

The prophet hears and knows that judgment is coming. His heart is for his people, for God’s people. One of the sad things about God’s judgment that many find unjust is that the “innocent” suffer the consequences along with the “guilty”. Think of the flood of Noah’s day; there were babies who had never sinned, though they were born sinners, like all of us; yet these died in the flood. Another point is the faith of Caleb and Joshua when they had viewed the Promised Land their faith said, “God is able. Let’s take the land”. The unbelieving said, “There are giants in the land” and the majority ruled. Then Caleb and Joshua suffered the punishment along with the unbelieving. They too wandered in the wilderness for forty years.

One of the things you and I can learn from that is; our sins do not just hurt us, they affect others too.

Jeremiah writes:

O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims affliction from Mount Ephraim: ‘Make mention to the nations, Yes, proclaim against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country and raise their voice against the cities of Judah. Like keepers of a field they are against her all around. Because she has been rebellious against Me,’ says the LORD. ‘Your ways and your doings have procured these things for you. This is your wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reaches your heart.’ Jeremiah 4:15-18 (NKJV)

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21), and it was obvious to the prophet Jeremiah, that the heart of the people of the Southern kingdom of Judah was in the same condition as that of the Northern kingdom when the armies of king Nebuchadnezzar came swooping down with the speed of the leopard upon them, carrying them away captive. This is what the prophet saw happening to Judah as well.

We must know that a divided heart is a sinful, rebellious, self-absorbed, godless heart. The lips which proclaim a faith in God while giving allegiance to things; material gain, family, government dependence, self dependence, etc.; is a full hypocrite, pretentious, and gives no allegiance to God, who alone deserves our undivided faith, and allegiance. There will be occasions when the genuine believer will doubt, fear, and not believe; however they do not dwell there for long. The heart of the genuine believer will come back to the place of faith, return to the Lord and glorify His name, glory and grace.

The voice coming from Dan and from Ephraim are the events which has happened to them concerning their judgment. They have been conquered because their evil hearts. Jerusalem and all of Judah cannot continue to live in sin and rebellion against God, thinking we have the temple, it is God’s temple, He won’t allow anything happen to His temple. Such arrogance and pride is doomed to fall. Thinking; “I am a child of God, therefore God will not cause the judgment that falls on the immoral unbeliever, to fall on me” is a dreadfully deceptive notion.

Hear the voices that come from others. The Christians who are imprisoned because of their crimes against another, they are paying for their sins. Christians who have disease because of a sinful lifestyle they once lived; which could have been prior to or following salvation. There are consequences to sin; for the Christian and the non-Christian.

Because of rebellion and a continued refusal to repent these judgments are coming on the children of God. The wickedness of the heart is known by the All-Knowing God. He will not hold guiltless those who are guilty. The sin of the guilty will also fall on the guiltless and the innocent.

Why is it that there are some people who think, “Well, it is my sin, my action, I will take responsibility for it,” by going ahead and doing it, and say, “It won’t hurt anyone but me”. My how deceived we can become when we get into sinful living. Our sins affect everyone around us. Even the “innocent” pay for our sins.

The sin of the heart is a bitter thing. The heart is where we gain the capacity of love, mercy and grace. It is the place we hold those things and people who are dear to us. The heart given to God holds Him dearest, closest, and trust solely in Him for life, living and eternity. The heart given to God loves all that is godly and good. Loves all there is to know about God, His Son Jesus Christ. If you do not know His Son and love Him; you do not know God and/or love Him (John 5:22-23; 8:42).

How is your heart today? Is there any pretension or hypocrisy which is directing your heart away from God? Is there desire in your heart turning you away from God, redirecting the main focus to something, someone other than God and His Son? Jesus also said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). When your heart is full of evil thoughts, and imaginations it will be speaking and doing and thinking those evil deeds. When your heart is full of God will you not be speaking the things of God? Most certainly.

Fill your heart with God, and God will come out in your speech and your life. Even when you end up in the judgment of God due to the sins of others, you will still grow in faith, love and knowledge and wisdom.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Think Of Isaiah’s Thoughts

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

Being a member of a noble family I sometimes become frustrated by having other people waiting on me and doing things, which I know I could do. Nevertheless, I have a good life, really it is too good. I am truly blessed

As I was walking by one of our fields yesterday, I noticed a familiar site. One I had seen many times before; one of our servants walking behind an ox, prodding him with a goad, guiding his direction, and that ox did exactly what this man directed him to do. If the man tapped the ox on the left side of the neck the ox turned right. If the man tapped him on the right side he turned left. When the ox was tapped on the rump he would increase his speed. The ox gave no sign of hesitating to any tap of the goad.

This became of great interest in my heart. God, holy God; began speaking to me through this ox working in the field. If the ox does not hesitate to obey its master and turns wherever he is directed, then why does God’s people not obey Him? This was the question which came to my mind.

As I was going back to the house I went by the stables, and I noticed a donkey which had just been brought back from carrying a heavy load of trade goods. This donkey just went right to the trough, knowing that his owner had put feed there for him. Once again the Spirit of God showed me how rebellious the people of God had become.

O, how terrible, that the people of God forget the merciful, providential, gracious, loving, hand of God. They go on their way, but do not consider. It is as if, they do not even know God.

“The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, my people does not consider” (Isaiah 1:3).

O, that the people of God would only “Consider” these matters.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Married to a Backslider

Married To A Backslider

 

There has been many a father and mother who pleaded and pleaded with their children to return home, after they have ran away from home. Some children, after reaching the mid to late teen years, begin feeling they can run their lives without someone “telling me what to do”, and so they run away. It is sometimes by the deceptive words of a “friend” or an older individual persuades them to do so. These are heart breaking for every loving parent.

Questions like; “Where did I go wrong?”, “What could we have done different?”, “Why is this happening now?”, and feelings of being a failure with your family hit hard. Since I have never experienced the sorrow of a runaway child, I really don’t know all the questions asked, or the pain that it causes. I have known a family or two where the runaway scenario has happened.

You could call their leaving home, “Backsliding”. That is what has happened in the life of the divided nations of Israel and Judah. Israel left home and began worshipping golden calves in Dan and Bethel, set up by their first king Jereboam. The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines “Backslide” as “To lapse morally or in religious practice”. That, in my opinion, is a gross understatement.

Before we go on let’s hear the Word of the LORD from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Return, O backsliding children,’ says the LORD; ‘for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:14-15 (NKJV).

What does God mean by “Backsliding”? It is the act of treachery, turning away from God, His Word, and sliding on a slippery slope to one’s lowest point. God is not pleased when His people turn their backs on Him and then, offer Him sacrifices which do not come from a heart of devotion and praise. Sacrifices offered with a backslidden heart are a stench in heaven and the nostrils of God.

Why people say that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament is beyond me. The means of salvation is by grace through faith. The Old Testament people were saved looking forward to the cross of Christ; shown in all the blood sacrifices offered with a clean motive, and the people from the cross forward are saved by looking back to the cross of Christ by faith.

This word from God through his prophet Jeremiah is given to His backslidden people. It is not to the heathen, unredeemed, but to the people of Israel and Judah. This says to us that God’s people do go astray. We do get out of the will of God, but God will spare no grace to pursue us, pleading with us to get us back into our personal walk with Him; in more complete agreement with Him; at peace with Him. The backslidden child of God is not at peace with God. The backslider is not even at peace with himself/herself. They want their own way, and they are going to have their way. Even if that way leads to the “pigpen”. Remember the Prodigal son of Luke 15:11-32. The father’s love seen for a rebellious son who had wanted to do things his way returns to the loving father, after realizing his own desperate plight. The writer of Proverbs says of the backslider, “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.” Proverbs 14:14 (NKJV).

It doesn’t matter what the child of God has done you have a loving Father who is pleading for you to return to His fellowship and enjoy the peace, comfort, love and joy that is found only in the presence and power of God. Don’t take this wrongly. This is not an invitation to do evil and wrong. We have been freed from such arrogance, and pride. Because we drag the carcass (Isaiah 5:18 ) of the flesh around with us, we have not laid it down yet, it is still a battle we face everyday.

For too long the nations had had shepherds who were “devouring their sheep”, and not teaching them the truth, or leading them in the true ways of God. They were self seeking. Read Jeremiah 23:1-2ff. The responsibility of the shepherd of people is an awesome responsibility. Those who preach, teach, and minister the word of God, are especially on notice to take great care in what they say, teach and preach. It seems quite clear that the priest, and other shepherds of Israel had gravely failed to lead in the way of God and His righteousness, grace and justification.

God now says to Israel and Judah, “I will give you shepherds according to My heart…” These will not be after the heart of man, but the heart of God. The true shepherd of God needs to know the heart of God. We learn that through His Word, prayer, and service for His glory.

The Christian of our day (2008 ) is living in times of great opportunity. Let us be devoted, committed, and crucified with Christ; being so will not allow us to backslide away from where God desires us to be, and that is with Him. Let us walk in His Spirit, His Word, and do things using His methods. Whether some want to admit it or not there are some methods that are being used to “Reach people for Christ” which are not after God’s heart. You know them. They give more glory to the program, the actors, the performers, the stunts, the numbers of people who are drawn to these events, and even to the numbers of “decisions”, than they do to the Lord for whom they are presumably there.

O, backsliding children God pleads for your return, “Return, O backsliding children…”

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Israel’s Backsliding

Israel’s Backsliding

God is loving, merciful and gracious. He has been with the northern kingdom of Israel, and with the southern kingdom of Judah. In His love, and His pursuit of His people, the rebellion, coldness, disobedience, and rebellion continue.

It is a shame that those who call themselves the people of God cannot see that they have departed from Him. They are a backsliden people. Hear the words of the prophet from God:

“The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: ‘Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.” Jeremiah 3:6-7 (NKJV).

The sin of Israel was their turning away from their worship of God alone, and they had started developing patterns consistent with pagan worshippers of false gods, even including their worship to false gods in their supposed worship to God. God has given very careful guidance in the true worship of Him. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”, and that means the worship of God, YHWH [YaHWeH] alone. To include others is to destroy true worship of the one true God.

They in effect have worshipped demons, rather than God;

“They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot…” Leviticus 17:7 (NKJV).

Paul writing to the Corinthians says,

“Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:18-20 (NKJV).

Worship directed to a Jesus who is not God is a false worship. Worship directed to anyone or anything that is not God is false worship.

Israel has sinned in their worship. It appears that there is more and more people who call themselves Christian who are also sinning in their worship. Their rebellion, disobedience, and adultery toward God must be repented of, seeking God’s forgiveness.

God has said to Israel, “Return to Me”. His call to the Church is the same; “Return to Me”. Be backsliding no more and return to God, and the holy and right worship through the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

-by 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