A Tree Of Life

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”  Proverbs 3:13-18  (KJB)

The Sluggard, The Righteous, The Wicked, and Great Riches

“The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.”  Proverbs 13:4-7  (KJB)

Lest I Be Full; Lest I Be Poor

“Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”   Proverbs 30:7-9  (KJB)

Labor and Thought

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: ‘Eat and drink,’ saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.”   Proverbs 23:4-8  (KJB)

The Way of the Wicked Heart

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.

As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” Jeremiah 17:9-11 (KJB)

Let me get right to the point. There is no male or female who is without a wicked heart, until that heart has been changed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the perfect, sinless, Son of God; the only One who did not have a wicked heart.

Apart from the grace of God displayed on the cross that wicked heart can still make an appearance if we stray for walking with the LORD.

The part of these verses that caught my attention this morning was verse 11 dealing with the partridge; apparently a bird that could have been known for taking eggs of another bird, sitting on them, an leaving them at the first sign of trouble.

The wicked heart of Adam’s kind steals from others, and is shown to be a fool in his end.

God knows your heart.  You may think you do.  When you have seen some evil, wicked thing; you may have thought, or even said out loud, “I would never do anything like that”. That wicked heart you do not believe you have can show up suddenly, and openly, then the whole world around you will see. It is, in fact, your wicked heart that would lead you to think, and/or say such a thing.

O you of Adam kind will you give your heart, your soul, your mind to Jesus Christ? Do so today.

The Wisdom of Agur

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell?
Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.  Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”  Proverbs 30:1-9 (KJB)

Agur’s Wisdom – Proverbs 30:1-33

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh”. It is not known who Agur is. There is no other reference to this name in Scripture. Some have thought it to be reference to Solomon, as a nickname; but seems unlikely. There are some who believe that Agur was a court counselor to Solomon. Agur does begin the wisdom a bit differently than the other writings.

1. “The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.” from ESV verse 1. It seems more likely that Agur is addressing pupils he might be teaching with the names of Ithiel and Ucal.
Agur seems also to be a man of humilty, note; “Surely I am more brutish [stupid] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” (v. 2-3).

2. Note the wisdom of his theology (v. 4). The obvious answers to these questions can only be “God”. Now look at his beliefs concerning Scripture (vv. 5-6); 1) It is pure; 2) God is a shield; 3) To add to the word of God makes one out a liar.

3. Agur asks for two things (vv. 7-9); 1) Give me neither poverty, nor riches; 2) Provide what I need to live.

4. The matter of slander is addressed in verse 10. See Psalms 15:3 & 101:5 “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report” Dictionary.com

5. There are four types of evil characters in verses 11 – 14; 1) Those who do not respect their parents; 2) Those who are immoral, but refuse to acknowledge it; 3) Those who are arrogant; and 4) Those who take advantage of the poor, and enslave them. “There is a generation…”

6. There are five things in fours which are lessons wisdom can teach us. Verses 15-17 tells us of thing which have unquenchable thirst or hunger, that cannot be satisfied. Verses 18-20 tells us of things that are mysterious and wonderful; with a warning in verse 20. Verses 21-23 four things that are out of place, and unnatural. Verses 24-28 gives tell us of four tiny creatures who are prepared for life and living. Verses 29-31 tells us four things which have honor, and are without shame.

7. Verses 32 – 33 deal with those who involve themselves in everything of others; have a comment about others situation, and find themselves with bloody noses; or worse.

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.’
The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: for the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.  Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”  Proverbs 22:7-29  (KJB)

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful – Proverbs 22:7-29

Verses 7, 16, 22-23 —  There is a contrast between the rich and poor.  The poor; people who are often in need of borrowing are placed in servitude to the lender; the rich.  The rich who would oppress the poor by holding their wages; charging a higher interest; etc.  will surely be in want.  Giving to the rich seems like a pointless statement;  however it is done.

Verses 8, 10, 13-15 —  The Geneva Bible notes (v. 8): “His authority by which he oppressed others, will be taken from him. ” Ref: (v. 10) Genesis 21:9-10;
The slothful or lazy will find any excuse not to do their labors.  The person who is abhorred by the LORD will fall into a life of destruction.  Correction is necessary to drive foolishness from a child; even some grown children who are following the path of foolishness.

Verses 9, 11-12, 17-21, 24-25 —  The good individual who is blessed will also be a blessing to the poor. References:  Luke 14:13-14.  See 16:13 and Psalm 101:6 for verse 11.  “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

There is learning of wisdom and knowledge in listening to the wise.  Keep them on your mind and on your lips; ready to speak them.  By them we know what is “right and true” (ESV).

Being a constant companion of the angry will cause your own life to become endangered by unruly anger and a snare.

Verses 26-29 —  Business matters according to Scripture;  Co-signing for debt of another binds you; putting your living at stake, even your family.

The “landmark” is your word.  Should be as sound as a concrete pillar 10 feet in the ground as a corner stake – marking the corner of a property.

When we are “diligent” in our labors we will stand before “kings”, be blessed, and kept from those who would seek to harm us.

Wisdom and Education for All

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.
The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:1-6 (KJB)

Wisdom and Education – Proverbs 22:1-6

Verses 1- 6 –   (1)  The value of a good name.  (2) The LORD is the maker of all.  (3) The sensible have forsight to danger; the simple (Naive) will not see or just ignore it. See Proverbs 14:16 and 27:12.  (4) Humility and fear of the LORD are essential to God’s blessings.  (5)  Troubles for the perverse;  avoidance for the one who keeps themselves clean.

Verse 6 –  From the Believers Bible Commentary;

“22:6  The usual interpretation of this proverb is that if you train up a child properly (in the way he should go), he will go on well in later life. Of course there are exceptions, but it stands as a general rule. Henry Ward Beecher observes:It is not hard to make a child or a tree grow right if you train them when they’re young, but to make them straighten out after you’ve allowed things to go wrong is not an easy matter.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of Charles, John, and 15 other children, followed these rules in training them: (1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul. (2) Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak. (3) Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely. (4) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed. (5) Commend and reward good behavior. (6) Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.
The proverb can also be understood as encouraging parents to train their children along the lines of their natural talents, rather than forcing them into professions or trades for which they have no native inclination. Thus Kidner says that the verse teaches respect for the child’s individuality and vocation, though not for his self-will.

And the proverb may be a warning that if you train a child in the way that he himself wants to go, he will continue to be spoiled and self-centered in later life. Jay Adams writes:

The verse stands not as a promise but as a warning to parents that if they allow a child to train himself after his own wishes (permissively), they should not expect him to want to change these patterns when he matures. Children are born sinners and, when allowed to follow their own wishes, will naturally develop sinful habit responses. The basic thought is that such habit patterns become deep-seated when they have been ingrained in the child from the earliest days.”

Verse six note from the ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 22:6 Train up a child. This proverb, founded on the covenant with Abraham (cf. Gen. 18:19), encourages parents to “train” (i.e., to “dedicate” or “initiate”; this is the sense of the word in Deut. 20:5; cf. Ezra 6:16) their children in the way (i.e., the right moral orientation) by pointing to the kinds of conduct that please or displease the Lord, and to the normal outcome of each kind of conduct (on the matter of consequences, see Introduction: Literary Features). The training will include love and instruction as well as “the rod of discipline” (Prov. 22:15).”

O, The Blessings We Have in Jesus Christ

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly in Christ: according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved.  In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.  In whom you also, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set at His own right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all under His feet, and gave Him the head over all to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.  Ephesians 1:1-23

REFERENCES: Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:3; Exodus 33:19; Matthew 3:17; 1 Peter 1:18; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Isaiah 46:10; James 1:18; John 1:17; Luke 21:28; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:4

Instruction and Authority from Proverbs 13

Instruction, Transgressions, and Authority – Proverbs 13:1-25

Verses 1 – 6 –  Once again we are dealing with the issues of the “mouth”.  Eating here seems to be speaking of much more than physical food; but rather of self-control with food and with the tongue.
Also speaking of control of one’s work habits; and speaking the truth.

Verses 7 – 8 –  When one makes themselves “rich” they are usually poor in many other ways.  Jesus said of the poor; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Riches are counted, by God, to be much more than material gain or wealth.  When the wealthy pay “ransom” in fear for their lives; they are genuinely poor.

Verses 9 – 19 –  Verse 13 is the central part of these verses; and words to be heeded by all who will trust the Lord.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

The instruction of God’s Word gives wisdom, grace, knowledge, salvation, fellowship with God, Peace with God, and peace with Mankind.

Verses 20 – 21 –  How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with?  Good parents will keep watch.  “Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33  “Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”
All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with.  You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

Verses 22 – 25 –  There is work and labor involved in caring for our future.  It begins by self discipline, and teaching our children.

“Prov. 13:24 Physical discipline is a common theme in Proverbs (see e.g., 10:13; 17:10; 22:15; 23:13–24; 29:15). It is viewed as an important part of the correction and training of a child, to teach him to avoid wrong behavior, to embrace what is right, and to build godly character. Equally important, physical discipline is an expression of love for a child, while the one who spares the rod hates his son. Taking into account all of the teaching of Proverbs, physical discipline of a child must never be severe and must always be exercised in love. Cf. Heb. 12:5–11.”  ESV Study Bible note.

The rod spoken of in verse 24 is one that speaks of “authority”.  The shepherd had a staff with a crook on the upper end; the king held a sceptre.  Both of these were signs of authority.
Our children need to learn to recognize authority.  When we have some who yell about corporal punishment as teaching children violence they are teaching children to disrespect authority.  Those who are in authority have the power to discipline.  God is the ultimate Authority.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Righteous Judgments

As we look at the following verses from Proverbs let us consider how we are to treat our neighbor.  The one next door, and the one 12,500 miles away.  The heart of the Christian is growing to become more like that of Jesus Christ, and He gave us the story of the “Good Samaritan” which is a familiar story the world over (Luke 10:30-37).  If every Christian would live like this, there would be less trouble between neighbors.

“A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight. When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.” Proverbs 11:1-6 (KJV)

The following are some points to ponder…

  1.  Balances were a means of conducting much agricultural, metals, and other forms of business in days of the past. Notice that the “False balance” is an “Abomination to the LORD” – something that is disgusting, and wicked in the sight of the LORD.
    This proverb (v. 1) can be tied with the command to “Love our neighbor” (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31) as ourselves; and the final six of the Ten Commandments. The Lord delights in a just weight or right balances.
  2.  Pride, arrogance, insolence, presumptuousness are words very similar in meaning. Most people hate arrogance when it is seen in someone else. The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary defines “arrogant” as being “Offensives exaggerating one’s own importance”; “insolent” is defined as “contemptuous, rude, disrespectful, or brutal in behavior or language: OVERBEARING, BOLD”; “presumptuous” means “overstepping due bounds; taking liberties: OVERBOLD.” With this “Pride” comes shame following closely on the heels – see Proverbs 16:18.
    In contrast is the “lowly” or the modest individual. These are usually the thankful person. The individual who knows they are not alone and trust the Lord for their every need.
  3.  “Integrity” equals “Soundness: adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity, honesty, and candor: completeness.” These, of course, would be guided by the teachings of God’s word and the Holy Spirit in the Christian.
    In this verse as well as verses 2, and 4 through 6 there are contrasting statements: “The integrity of the upright” and “The perverseness of transgressors”; Riches and righteousness; “The righteousness of the perfect… but the wicked shall fall…”

There is destruction awaiting those connected to unrighteousness.

There is deliverance for the righteous; but “transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.” (Jeremiah 2:19)

Christmas Day Fifty and Nine

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to be rich, not in the material things like gold, silver, money, houses or land; but rich in God, eternal life, integrity, honesty, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, mercy, grace, self control.

I would rather be rich in God, and be financially poor; than to have the wealth of all the world, and be without God.

“Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:6 (NKJV)

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Seventy and Six

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1-2ff

It is amazing to me how there are some people who cry out, “Do not judge”, yet out of their statement they are judging the one to whom, or of whom they are speaking.

What do I want for Christmas?

Since there must be judgments made, I want to make clear judgments of  people, and the content of their character, situations, and never judge by conditions of poverty (or bankruptcy), riches, health, or sickness; I want the color of a persons skin to never enter into the judgments that I make; I want to make righteous judgments; I want to first judge myself.

Lord, help me to never condemn anyone, even when they hurt or offend me.

The Rich in This World

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19 (KJV)

According to tax records and stats the rich of the United States of America are only about 2 percent of the population.  I am not sure what income level that richness begins.  Is it one half million per year, a million, or what is the beginning point of richness?

I have never had wealth, as far as the wealth of the world goes, so I do not have a clue as to the feelings of responsibility with that wealth.  I know I do sometimes become angry when I hear of the profits of big corporations, the big million dollar bonuses of the CEO’s, COO’s, etc. and then the astronomical prices people must pay for their product.

When I hear of a Christian brother of sister becoming better off it is a great joy; however, it is an even greater joy to know that they are following the Lord in the management of their new found wealth.

The rich of the world; be they Christian or not need to realize where their wealth came from.  Most definitely some people earn what they have made, and have worked very hard for what they have, and they should be able to enjoy  their blessings; yet, they must realize that the strength they had, the health they have enjoyed comes from God, and He is the One who has truly blessed them.

All that we have is God’s.  We are only stewards of what God has given us.  We all need to realize that the Creator is really the giver, the provider of all good things; and He has blessed us to share with those who are less fortunate.

The one foundation the rich must have, is the same foundation that the poor must have; and that foundation is the Rock, Jesus Christ.

Just one finishing note.  God is not for a redistribution of wealth, making all equal financially.  You could give every man, and woman on earth a million dollars; within a month, maybe less, some would have nothing left, some would have much more; and them it would be back to the way it was before.

The greatest wealth and riches one can have is in knowing where you are going.  That can only be had by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His bodily resurrection.

-T.A.

Day 40 – Thoughts from Psalms; Riches

Riches are often what many of us think about at times, especially when we are having financially difficult times.  What would we do if we had wealth and riches?  Most of the people I know would end up not having any of it left after they received a big lump sum of money or things; myself included.  I started to write here that I no longer have a desire to be wealthy; however, that would have been a flat out lie.

Millionaire is the word that used to be the catch phrase for being wealthy.  Now it is Billionaire.  There are several Billionaires in the United States of America, and around the world.  Two of the most prominent ones in the U. S. of A. are Bill Gates who has prospered from the founding of the Microsoft corporation; and the other is Warren Buffet,  and I guess Donald Trump is now in the Billionaire category as well.

There are times that those who have not are envious and angry with those who have.  The Psalm I am going to look at today shows that in the heart of a man named Asaph, the writer of this Psalm and the ones that follow through to Psalm 83.  My reading today was Psalms 66 – 79.  Psalm 73 will be our focus for this morning.

“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  Psalm 73:1-3 (KJV)

Asaph realizes that his envy has been to his own detriment.  Envy profits us nothing.  There are many of the wealthy who have worked hard to gain what they have, and of course, have prospered because of good timing, and good planning.  I still believe that is possible for anyone in the U. S. of A.  I do not believe that a person who has their heart set on wealth is going to get wealthy.  Hard work, and willingness to help others have a share go a long ways in this world.

Sadly there is much evil within the gaining of riches.  When one becomes wealthy they can become weaker in faith toward God, if they had it to begin with.  I think it was Jerry Clower who once said, “There is no temptation like wealth to turn your heart away from God”  or something similar to.

Asaph does realize that he is falling, losing his footing because of his envy.  His envy, and any envy you and I may have is an enemy of our heart, soul and life.

A few years ago, a couple I think, Bill Gates challenged all the Billionaires to give away one half of their wealth.  Bill Gates at the time was; on paper; worth over 50 billion dollars, and Warren Buffet about the same.  Giving away half of their wealth would really be a sacrifice to them, would it not? 🙂  The reason I am a bit sarcastic about their giving effort is because the media played it up like they were really making a huge sacrifice.  I saw no sacrifice.  Real sacrifice is when your giving hurts; it cost you something.  I applaud their giving, if they did; but their wealth has not suffered by their generosity.

I applaud even more the husband and wife, or individual who have given faithfully to the LORD, through their local church; and steadily, faithfully given at least ten percent of their wealth.  They are the real bulwarks of our society.  Some have given even more from annual incomes of 10,000 dollars; 20,000 dollars, 30,000 dollars, and they are blessed by their generosity.  Not only that many of these people also give when the community suffers loss due to storms; or give to a friend or neighbor who has lost their jobs, or their homes to a fire.  Those are the real people of wealth and generosity.

Asaph realizes his need is the LORD, and realizes the plight of the ungodly wealthy,

“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.  So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee.   Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand.  Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”  vv.21-24

He realizes he is a recipient of the greatest wealth and richer that can be had by mankind.  That wealth is having the peace of God that passes understanding, and all the wealth of Heaven at our beckoned call; and to know that when we speak with God He hears us.

Asaph ends the Psalm with,

“For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee.  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works.”  vv. 27-28

It is good for all men, even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to draw near to God.  The only way made available to us by God, to Him, is through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.  All the giving in the world will not buy Heaven.  It has already been purchased for us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on that cruel, killing cross of calvary. (See 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).

-Tim A. Blankenship

What Do You See???

What Do You See?

The prophet has seen the “Rod of the almond tree”, and it was the message from God that He was going to bring His Word to pass very quickly. The seeing of the “Rod…” itself is the sign of discipline and judgment. It can also be a sign of protection, if you are on the right side of it.

The LORD asked Jeremiah again, “What do you see?” Jeremiah 1:13 (NKJV), and the prophet says, “I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north”. A “boiling pot” is a hot matter. It has taken some time for the contents of the pot to come to the point of boiling.

At the time of Jeremiah it has basically been many, many years that the people of Israel and of Judah have grown cold to the Lord and His Word. They have turned a deaf ear to the meaning of their sabbath days, holy days, their feasts, and have in fact turned their hearts toward other gods.

Their comforts, their riches, their houses and their lands are of more importance and they care more for those things than for others, or God.

For many years in our own Nation of the United States of America many professing Christians have grown more concerned with their health, wealth, houses, cars, and lands, than they have with being holy, righteous, and the care of our poorer brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a ‘Boiling pot’ that is ready to be spilled on us. It may be in the form of a collapsed economy; is that laughable? You may have the first laugh, but God will have the final one. People are dollaring themselves right out of their new and older homes.

The ‘Boiling pot’ may not be coming from our North, but it is coming from the thing which Americans fear the most. What is that? Economic collapse. For too long people and even Christians have put their hope in the economy being good, when it has basically been built on nothing visible, but the invisible value of their home. It should really just be called ‘Their house’, because to many it is just an investment, and they have placed the value of their lives in the value of their house. May God help us, and forgive us.

God says to the prophet, “Out of the North calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land”. Jeremiah 1:14 (NKJV). When people turn their backs on God, and turn to their own means, comfort, health, wealth, and security, then is when the water in the pot begins to boil. It has been boiling now for many years. Let’s repent of our deeds and turn to the LORD.