The Business

“Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the Child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed: and His mother said unto Him, ‘Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.’ And He said unto them,
‘How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?’
And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Luke 2:41-52 (KJB)

At the age of twelve Jesus had more knowledge and understanding than the wisest of the scholars of that time. They were awed by this boy who was asking questions and listening to their answers.

He said to His mother and to Joseph that He must be about His Father’s business. Just what is the Father’s business. Jesus would say when His ministry began,

“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).

He would also say,

“This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29).

It should be quite clear to all that the reason for Jesus coming the first time was to redeem a people to Himself; to redeem us from our sins by His death on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection. That is the business Jesus was and is still in.

Call on His name. Believe Him and be saved for all eternity.

He Shall Receive Me

“Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world: both low and high, rich and poor, together.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; none can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever: that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. Selah.
Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for He shall receive me. Selah.”  Psalm 49:1-15  (KJB)

Preparing For The Blessed Hope

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11-15  (KJB)

You Have Redeemed Me

In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in Thy righteousness.  Bow down Thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be Thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
For thou art my Rock and my Fortress; therefore for Thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for Thou art my strength.
Into Thine hand I commit my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.  Psalm 31:1-6 (KJB)

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.

The ONE Who Inhabits Praises

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, O You that inhabits the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:1-3 (KJV)

This is named as another Psalm of David.  Now, whatever David was experiencing I do not think he realized this was going to be a song the Messiah would sing; but it was, and it is His Song.  You can see the words of this first verse as Jesus was coming out of the darkness of the crucifixion, and they are words even David could not express except the LORD had given them. Yet, how could David know the intensity, the suffering, the agony both on the cross and in the garden of Gethsemane?

Both David and the Messiah understood the fact that praises only belong to the One who inhabits those praises.  That is God.

Jesus as He willingly laid down His life on the cross knew the agony, the pain, and the suffering that was coming, yet He laid it down.  The pain worse than death by the tormenting beatings, the nails in His hands and feet, and even the spear in His side was the pain He felt when in that darkness He experienced what life and death was like without God, His Father.

For the very first time in His life Jesus experienced being apart from His Father and this is the first prayer He prays where He refers to His Father as “My God, My God…”.  Even in the prayer He still hangs on to the truth of resurrection, faith in the One who will raise Him is faith in the the One who inhabits the praises of Israel; the praises of His people.

No matter what you are going through today you can believe, and know that the One who knows you loves you best, and He has already suffered in what you are suffering.  He knows your pain.  He knows your sin and has paid the price to redeem you from all your sin.

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It

The king shall joy in Your strength, O LORD; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with the blessings of goodness: You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of You, and You gave it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation: honor and majesty have You laid upon him. For You have made him most blessed for ever: You have made him exceeding glad with Your countenance.”  Psalm 21:1-6 (KJV)

King David was speaking of much more than what he had requested.  He was speaking of the future King of Israel, King of the world who would receive all that He requested because He had died to redeem His bride unto Himself.

On that word “Selah” I want you to remember that I look at that word and pause, think about what was just read, what it says, and reflect on it.  Now thinking on that second verse for a bit: did David get all those things?  Did he get all that his heart desired?  I really do doubt it.  He was joyous in knowing the LORD and resting in Him.  It would seem to me that it is directly related to the coming King, the Messiah of Israel, and Savior of the world.

He asked life and was raised from the dead.  He asked for long life, and will live eternally, even for ever and ever.  He is glorified in the salvation GOD has provided through His death, burial, and resurrection.

This Psalm is a song of David thanking and praising the LORD for His answer to his prayers; that they are exceedingly abundant over what he could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Ask Life, and GOD Gives It.  He gives life through faith in His Son Jesus.  Will you ask?

Conduct Yourselves in Fear

In this first chapter of First Peter we looked last at being holy.  It is God’s command that His people, Christians be holy.  We are called apart, set apart, so we are to be apart from the wiles, wickedness, and ways of worldliness.

Looking now at verses seventeen through twenty one we see what is required of us to be holy:

 “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;  knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.   He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” 1 Peter 1:17-21 (NKJV).

To be holy is to be set apart from the society in which we live.  Not as monks, or as though a world of our own, but apart in the sense of not participating in the world system of greed, debauchery, lust, uniformity, etc..

Being holy, and since we as Christians call on the Father on a quite regular basis we also know that He is One who judges us justly, and  fairly according to our works, and knowing that we will conduct ourselves with the utmost respect of Him who holds our hearts and each breath we breath in His hands.  We will live with the fear, knowing that the time of our lives is in His hand.

Knowing the Father as we do; we also know that we have not been redeemed with material things.  Our redemption is not founded on how much gold or silver we possess, or how much we give away.  It is not based on any form of material wealth.  It is not gifts given for the fulfillment of the traditions of men.  Our redemption is not dependent upon someone else paying our way out of a fictitious purgatory.  The price of our redemption was paid to God our Father by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Our sin debt was owed to God.

Jesus Christ, the precious lamb of God, paid our sin debt to the Father for us.  The price of our redemption was His life.  He laid it down, and no man took it from Him.  As a matter of fact; the Father took His life (Read Isaiah 53:4).  Jesus was that sacrificial Lamb who was without spot, and without blemish.  There was no sin in the life of Jesus Christ, but He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and the wrath of Almighty God was poured out to the max upon Him.

This was “foreordained” even before the foundations of the earth were laid, and it was fulfilled in that day when Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  It is only because of this wondrous gift than anyone can call on the name of the Father, and He will hear us, save us, and give us life eternal.  No one can come to God except it be given of the Father, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus from death He has been restored to the glory He had with the Father from the beginning.  His glory renewed we can now have faith and hope in God.  Without this there would not be much of a point in our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering for His name.  Because He lives we live.  Because He died for us, we can die for His name’s sake, and give Him the glory.

May God bless our brothers and sisters who are suffering for the name of Jesus.

-T.A.

Sensual Division

“Remember the words…by the apostles… How they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” Jude 18-19 (NKJV).

A continual warning, and caveat’ to stand your ground, be faithful, follow the teachings of the apostles, etc.; is much needed, but too many of our minds can become redundant. We need to be encouraged by the words of Jude and the words of any preacher who is teaching us to stand guard over our heart, and against the teachings and teachers which would lead us away from the truth.

These apostates are actually haters of God; yet use the name of God to have their way in Christian circles. Jude in no way is saying to us that all true teachers of God’s Word are infallible, but that they will be faithful to proclaiming the truth of God. We can all make mistakes. It seems that we, in our humanity are almost prone to make one now and then, just to remind us that we are still, in fact, fallen creatures; who have been redeemed by the perfect Savior.

However, these apostate heretics, are those who purposely teach doctrines contrary to God and His Word to draw a following for themselves, put their fleeced flocks money in their own pockets, and live in lavish homes, and estates. Now, before any one flies off the proverbial handle, let me add that there is nothing wrong with having or gaining wealth; as long as it has been done by hard work and labor; without taking advantage of the weak; and God is given all the glory for it. God gives wealth to enable those with it to be stewards and help the weak; and that includes the widow, the orphan, the poor, and downtrodden. These take no thought of others, however. The lavish homes and estates are almost their personal trademarks.

They are “sensual”, and that can be greedy, filled with lusts; and lusts can be for anything including power, position, popularity, and pomp. When the truth is not proclaimed, the one proclaiming that which is contrary to the truth are the dividers. That is something we always need to remember.

One of the teachings which is popular among many churches and pastors is the teaching about sex, using Scripture, but using the most lewd, crude, and shocking forms of “language” that can be heard today. “It’s part of our culture” those using it say. “They will not listen unless we speak that way”, they continue. We are always to speak the language which will glorify our Lord, and His language is not lewd, crude, or “shock jock” style. The Bible deals with sexual matters many times, but always treating it with respect, and even mystery; and so should those who are supposedly trying to teach people. In many cases using sensual language which inspires lust, rather than genuine love; they destroy the purity of God’s Word and its teaching. These are sensual dividers.

These types of talks draw the crowds; just as motor crosses, NASCAR, boxing, wrestling and the Olympics. Little for the glory of God is done in any of the these events. They are for some to make money, and others to spend and or lose it. It may be popular, but popular does not make it holy or right.

Many times, when the one who comes in exposing the lies for what they are, they are always the one who is accused of causing division. It is the one’s who are teaching and preaching the lies who are the dividers. The division-makers do not have the Spirit of God, and if not dealt with by the truth, and with firmness, will themselves be inhabitants of hell. They must be confronted, and given the opportunity of repentance, and finding genuine peace with God.

Be strong in the faith. Grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Confront and hate the evil, and expose it. Love the good, and the godly. Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

-Tim A. Blankenship