Calming the Storm(s)

“And the same day, when the even was come, He saith unto them, ‘Let us pass over unto the other side.’ And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, ‘Master, carest Thou not that we perish?’ And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, ‘Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?'” Mark 4:35-41  (KJB)

Jesus calls on the disciples to go to the other side in a boat, with others with them.  He sleeps in the “hinder part” with perfect peace, and continues to sleep as a storm comes up and rages.  The Master completely at peace while the disciples rage with their own personal storm of fear.

There once was a boy, awakened by a horrendous thunderstorm.  He was very frightened by that storm, but remembered the words of Jesus, and spoke them to the storm.  Following the speaking of those words, “Peace, be still” that boy went back to sleep.

Jesus is the one who calms all the storms of life when we place them in His hands.

Let me give you a few words from F. B. Meyer on these verse…

“The stilling of the storm, Mar_4:35-41. They that bear Christ’s company must prepare for squalls. Yet, why should we fear, when the Master is on board, who can impress His commands on wind and sea-to the wind, Peace; to the sea, Be still! “The Lord on high is mightier than the waves of the sea.” A moment ago he was so weary as to sleep amid the storm, but at a word of appeal from those He loves, He shows Himself able to save to the uttermost.” from F. B. Meyer’s THROUGH THE BIBLE DAY BY DAY

Remember the One who was sleeping, getting the rest He needed, was also the One who would go to the cross, and face the greatest storm of His life, dying for the sins of the world; yours and mine; was buried, then three days later came out of that grave alive.  He lives forever more.  Call on His name.  Believe Him.

The Case of the Hypocrite Fig Tree

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’ And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14

“And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, ‘Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.’ And Jesus answering saith unto them, ‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive, and ye shall have. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’” Mark 11:20-2 (KJB)

Do you desire to accomplish great things for God?  Do you desire having power with God in prayer?  Do you desire to be able to move mountains, and cast them into the sea?  It could also be asked, “Do I desire to have power to deliver people from demon possession?”

Jesus was able to curse the fig tree, and the next day was a teaching moment for the disciples to learn; and for us too.  Why would Jesus curse the fig tree?  It was saying it had fruit when it did not.  It was a hypocrite fig tree. The leaves on the tree, even though it was not the season for figs; was declaring that it had figs.  It did not.  Thus Jesus cursed the tree, and it died.

Jesus’s words when they see the tree died away was “Have faith in God…”.  Jesus then proceeds to describe the power of faith in God for those who are forgiven, and forgiving.

Here is a thought for you.  The fruit of being forgiven is forgiving.  If you cannot forgive what someone has done to you; you have not experienced forgiveness.  Can we figure out the rest?

Full Force of Wrath

“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.”  Revelation 10:5-7

These verses are further evidence that this angel is not the Lord Jesus.

The first thing that tells me it is not, is, that he “Sware to Him that liveth for ever and ever”. The risen glorified Jesus would have no need to do that. He is the “Fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). He is the One who lives “For ever and ever”.

The second reason is that, if it is Jesus He could sware by Himself (Heb. 6:13).

This is simply an angelic messenger of God’s ownership upon His creation. Afterall, all things are under His feet. He can send an angelic messenger if He so chooses.

The fact that the angel is standing on the sea and the earth seem to imply that time is up. This last phrase of verse six is indicative of that. “There will be no more delay” (NIV). “There shall be delay no longer” (NAS). “There should be delay no longer” (NKJV). The verse does not imply no more time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc.); unless it could be applied to repentance; and read, “No more time for man to repent”. The clear implication is that time is up. The full force of God’s wrath is come. Evil will be eternally put away.

Verse seven is a strong affirmation of the above. John speaks of the seventh trump. At the sound of the seventh trump, “The mystery of God should be finished”. What is this mystery? There is much said in the Bible about mystery. Some of these God reveals to His prophets and has revealed them.

1. The mystery of the Church (Eph. 5:32);
2. The mystery of iniquity (2 Thes. 2:7).

The above are only a sample of mysteries of the Bible. These two probably fit with what John is writing. With the sounding of the seventh trump; the final martyrs will be slain, the gospel ceases and judgment falls on the whole earth. The seventh trump also begins the “seven vials of wrath”. If you will remember the seven seals judgments only affected one fourth, then, the seven trumpets affect one third, but when we get to the seven vials it seems to affect the whole earth because there is no mention of the amount of earth or population affected.

The work of those who are His on earth is finished. The bondage of and control of sin on earth is finished as well. Only wrath remains. Mankind has no more time for repentance at the seventh trumpet. Because mankind has rejected God’s atonement for sin through faith in Jesus Christ, the iniquity of mankind and its judgment will be put on the God-haters. God provides the way through the cross of Jesus for man to come to Him and be saved. If we reject that way there is no other, and judgment is imminent.

God warns people through His servants He calls prophets or preachers. God reveals judgment to certain ones and as God’s servants, they warn people of judgment. This shows God’s abundant mercy (Amos 3:7). He owes man nothing, yet His mercy is astounding. One day, though, His mercy will cease. Woe be to those who heed not His warnings.

Prophets Speak – Christmas Day One Hundred Thirty and Nine

“Thus says the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: ‘If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever.’ Thus says the LORD; ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 31:35-37 (KJV)

Because the love and promises of God are so vast, so deep, so broad, to the people of Israel; I can rest assured that His promises to me through Jesus Christ will never, never, never fail.

The science of men has searched, and is continually searched for, and endeavored to measure the vastness of the “heavens”, yet to no avail.  They have not fully found the secrets of the whole earth; and never will.

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want you to know the vastness, the depth, and breadth of the love and promises of God for you; how much He loves you is shown in the cross of His Son; in His burial all our sins, shame, guilt, condemnation, and death was left there; in His bodily resurrection He gives us eternal victory over the power of death;  I want you to know Him, His love, and His promises; that He never fails.

Sunrises and Sunsets

“The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” Ecclesiastes 1:5-7 (KJV)

Since the beginning of time on earth the sun has never failed to rise in the east, neither has it ever failed to set in the west. At least that is the terms men have used for millennials of time.

I have been on this earth for a short 22,217 days; and everyday the sun has risen and set. I have missed a few of those; at least in seeing them. Some days have been clouded over, but I have known that the sun did rise, and it did set. I love sunrises. For the past 15 years or so I have been up in the morning early enough to witness all of them. Maybe missing a few days sleeping in. Everyday the sun rises and sets it is a reminder that God’s Word is true.

Notice Solomon’s words of the wind; going south, then north, and whirling about. Wind can be ferocious and fearful. On May 22, 2011 much of the city of Joplin, Missouri was destroyed by a tornado. Our son and his wife lost their home in that storm. Thankfully they, nor their dogs had a scratch on them, even though they were in the house when the tornado hit.

Winds can be refreshing. Winds can be wild, twisting masses of terror. Winds can be a short gust which makes you wonder, “Where did that come from?”, and then nothing. Jesus said of the wind,

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

One evening (July 20, 2015) I was mowing our front yard.  When I started the temperature was 100 degrees. I was about to take one last break from the heat; had pulled the mower into the shade on the east side of the house, when I looked and saw clouds moving in, then thunder and lightening. That is when I decided I better just go ahead and finish the mowing. I finished the mowing, got the mower into the shed, shut it off, and the rain began. Wow! Could not have planned it better myself.

The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and the rain was pouring from the skies filled with lightening and thunder. God is so wonderful. His Son is so glorious. He is so worthy of our worship and praise.

All these things of God’s created order are reminders of God’s care. God’s care of His creation; His people, His world. Just as the order God gives this earth, and the Universe is sure; His love for you and me is sure. He loves us so much He sent His Son Jesus to die in our place for our sins.

He is sure. He is stedfast. He is faithful to do all that He has said He would do. Believe Him.  Trust Him.

It Is Not Hidden

“For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (KJV)

There is nothing secret about the word of God. Something I do not understand is why some want to seek out some “code” to “hidden things” or whatever; especially since we do not practice much of what we do know of God’s word.

The verses for today tell us that we do not need to go to heaven to know God, or to find His way. It is near. He gave it to Moses, revealed it to the people, and Christians have it today as well. It is easy to understand. All it takes is to read it, to hear it, and to heed what God says.

If this holy word of God was in the mouths and the hearts of the children of Israel; how much more is it in the hearts of those who are born of the Spirit of God today – the Christian.

There are some who say, “If God would just reveal Himself to me I would believe Him.” Really? He has done that, and we crucified Him. Yet you will not believe.

The apostle Paul quotes these verses in Romans 10:6-8. These words; all the words of Moses speak of the One to come; He came, He bled, He died, He was buried, and He arose bodily from the grave, and forever lives. He will save you as you cry out to Him.

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 That is how very near He is to you. His name is Jesus.

Day 64 – Prepare For the Glory of the LORD

All of creation is for the glory of the LORD; even the one’s made in His image; yet we have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and because of Adam’s sin have brought a curse on the created order.

My reading this morning took me through three of the Minor Prophets – Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah.  These are called “Minor Prophets” because of the shortness of the prophecy, not its measure of importance in  prophecy, and the Word of God.

God, in His Word, shows us quite clearly that He will be glorified; and will spare nothing to make it so.  He who spared not even His own Son, to bring us back into His glory.

There are a couple of verses in Amos I want us to consider this morning.  God shows us His glory in the creation;

“Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is His name…” Amos 5:8 (KJV)
“It is He that buildeth His stories in the heaven, and hath founded His troop in the earth; He that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is His name.”  9:6

In Amos the prophet shows us God even in the everyday things that we take for granted; such as the stars, and the rain which nourishes the ground and our crops.  Note, the prophets awareness of where the rain comes from – how it comes from the “waters of the sea”.

Now note how the prophet Obadiah, the shortest prophetic book of the Old Testament ends his prophecy speaking of the kingdom being the LORD’S;

“And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.”  Obadiah 21 (KJV)

Now as we consider the prophet Jonah we see a very reluctant prophet.  We first hear of Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25 where the prophet had spoken in the days of Jeroboam.  When the LORD calls Jonah to a foreign land, Nineveh, the prophet becomes disobedient, rebellious and flees.  God has something else in mind.  He prepares five different things to bring the prophet to where He wants Him to be; and it is not just to Nineveh;

“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”  Jonah 1:4

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”  Jonah 1:17

“And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.  But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.  And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.'” Jonah 4:6-8

Notice the five things God prepared for Jonah.  1) “a great wind into the sea”;  2) “the LORD prepared great fish…”;  3) “the LORD God prepared a gourd…”;  4) “God prepared a worm…”;  5) “God prepared a vehement east wind…”

Sad to think that he was more concerned with his own comfort than the souls of these people; most of all the glory of the LORD God.  How am I with that today?  I am afraid that far too often I am like Jonah.

May God help me.

-Tim A. Blankenship

…Which Thou Hast Given Me…

We continue looking at our Lord’s Prayer as He was nearing the day of giving Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

“I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word.”  John 17:6 (KJV).

The very thing that Jesus came to do was to reveal the Father unto men.  Of course, the men of whom Jesus is speaking are those who were following Him that we know as the disciples.

Jesus had told Phillip, “If ye have seen Me, ye have seen the Father” (14:9).  Everything which Jesus did He did to glorify His Father, and do the works which the Father had sent Him to do.  He had called these men to follow Him, and He recognized that the Father had given them to Him.  When the men looked at Jesus they were seeing the works of the God of all creation.  They had been extremely blessed by seeing first hand  His power over the elements.

Only God could cause the storms at sea to cease.  Jesus had merely spoken, “Peace; be still”, and all was calm – immediately.  Three of them had seen Him speaking; and in His glory ; with Moses and Elijah on the mountain.  It is a personal longing desire that I have to see my Jesus face to face and behold Him in His glory.

Jesus prays, “…and they have kept Thy word”.  They have taken the things which Jesus has said, held them in their hearts, and they would one day, by the presence and power of the Spirit come forth in written words for all to read, and hear.

Let’s be thankful today, for those men who were faithful to follow the Lord Jesus.  No!  They were not perfect.  They were people just like you and myself.  They stumbled and fell, but my oh,  my; to have Jesus pray so for us.  This prayer is for all who will follow Him.

God bless you.  Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me; bless His holy name.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Raging Waves Of The Sea

“These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” Jude 12-13 (NKJV).

Anyone who has ever seen the ocean waves, and heard them crashing down on the beach know that they put on a good show. They can however reach no further than the bounds set for them by God. They serve no purpose except to be try and reach beyond their God ordained bounds, speaking loudly, deceiving many, with their undertow and riptides, sending many to their death. They are beautiful to see, and to hear, but destructive.

Today I will give you a quote from Dr. B. Gray Allison from his study of Jude. Dr. Allison is the founding President of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee:

“Jude further describes those of whom he writes as ‘raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame.’ Isaiah wrote: ‘But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace’, saith my God, ‘to the wicked.’ (Isaiah 57:20,21). What a picture of the mouth-professor who is not a heart-possessor! Never any peace! An outward show of tranquility, O yes! Many times a smile is on the face, but the heart is yearning, the heart is ill at ease. There is never any real peace, never any real joy, never any real happiness, never any real satisfaction. Never at peace–always disturbed, tossed to and fro as the raging waves of the sea. This is the condition of the mouth professor who is not a heart possessor of Jesus.”

From “NOW UNTO HIM, Messages From Jude For Our Day”, p. 52, by B. Gray Allison.

The false teachers make a lot of noise, sometimes put on a good show, oooh and awe you, but they possess not the Spirit of the Lord Jesus. They possess instead the presence of the spirit of demons. They seek to fill their own pockets with the hard work of others, and finally fill others only with dread, fear, and destruction.

When you are a follower of Jesus and you are studying His Word, are praying, and living according to His Word and the Spirit you can quickly identify the false from the truth. Remember Jesus’s own words. “Do not be deceived.”

-Tim A. Blankenship